Yemeni army advance west of Taiz in operation to cut off Houthi militia supply routes

A member of the Yemeni pro-government forces is pictured in front of the May 22 Hospital on the eastern outskirts of port city of Hodeida on November 15, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Yemeni army advance west of Taiz in operation to cut off Houthi militia supply routes

Yemen’s national army on Sunday advanced west of Taiz on the second day of a military operation to cut off Houthi militia supply routes.

A Yemeni military source that said heavy clashes with the militia killed several of their commanders during the operation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The source added that the militia fired five rocket-propelled grenades from its positions in Mount Al-Barqa on civilian homes however no casualties were reported.

The Yemeni army forces also thwarted an attempt by the Houthi militia to recover their positions in western Taiz.

A field source reported that groups of the militia tried to sneak into the old airport and Wata Al-Khazan, west of the city.

Clashes broke out between the two sides following the attempt, which leading to several losses on the Houthi side, causing the militia to flee.


Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

Updated 16 February 2019
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Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday suggested the mosque in Athens should open with minarets if the Greek premier wants to reopen a seminary in Istanbul.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was in Turkey this month and visited the disputed landmarks of Hagia Sophia and the now-closed Greek Orthodox Halki seminary.
Tsipras said during the visit to the seminary located on Heybeli island off Istanbul on February 6 he hoped to reopen the school next time with Erdogan.
Future priests of the Constantinople diocese had been trained at the seminary, which was closed in 1971 after tensions between Ankara and Athens over Cyprus.
Erdogan on Saturday complained that the Fethiye Mosque in Athens had no minarets despite Greek insistence that it would open.
The mosque was built in 1458 during the Ottoman occupation of Greece but has not been used as a mosque since 1821.
“Look you want something from us, you want the Halki seminary. And I tell you (Greece), come, let’s open the Fethiye Mosque,” Erdogan said during a rally in the northwestern province of Edirne ahead of local elections on March 31.
“They said, ‘we are opening the mosque’ but I said, why isn’t there a minaret? Can a church be a church without a bell tower?” he said, describing his talks with Tsipras.
“We say, you want to build a bell tower? Come and do it... But what is an essential part of our mosques? The minarets,” the Turkish president added.
Erdogan said Tsipras told him he was wary of criticism from the Greek opposition.
After the independence war against Ottomans began in 1821, the minaret is believed by some to have been destroyed because it was a symbol of the Ottoman occupation.
Ankara had returned land taken from the seminary in 1943 but there is still international pressure on Turkey to reopen it.
Erdogan has previously said that its reopening is dependent on reciprocal steps from Greece to enhance the rights of the Turkish minority.