Yemen govt to pay civil servants in militia-held Hodeidah

People driving in a market in the Yemeni flashpoint city of Hodeidah. (File/AFP)
Updated 28 December 2018
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Yemen govt to pay civil servants in militia-held Hodeidah

  • For more than two years, the government has been unable to pay salaries and the riyal dropped sharply against the dollar, leaving Yemenis unable to afford food and water
  • Earlier this month, deputy central bank chief Shokeib Hobeishy said that Yemen’s central bank was expecting a $3 billion cash injection from Gulf allies

HODEIDAH: The United Nations on Friday welcomed a decision by Yemen’s government to pay the salaries of civil servants in the militia-held city of Hodeidah starting this month.

For more than two years, the government has been unable to pay salaries and the riyal dropped sharply against the dollar, leaving Yemenis unable to afford food and water.

“President (Abedrabbo Mansour) Hadi’s decision is an important step towards improving the economic situation, and alleviating the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people,” the office of the UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths tweeted.

“The (special envoy) hopes there will be more steps in this direction.”

On Thursday, Hadi instructed the government to “urgently work on paying the salaries of all civil servants in Hodeidah province starting from December”, Saba state news agency reported.

Earlier this month, deputy central bank chief Shokeib Hobeishy said that Yemen’s central bank was expecting a $3 billion cash injection from Gulf allies.

His statement came after a $2.2 billion infusion by Saudi Arabia to stem a slide in the Yemeni riyal.

More than one million civil servants lost their jobs in 2016, when Hadi moved the central bank from the militia-held capital Sanaa to Aden, controlled by the government.

A ceasefire -- agreed at peace talks in Sweden earlier this month -- went into effect in Hodeidah city and its surroundings on December 18 but has remained shaky with the warring sides accusing each other of violations.

An AFP correspondent said on Friday gunfire was heard overnight in the south of the Red Sea city, whose port serves as an entry point for the majority of imports and humanitarian aid to the war-torn country.

“We heard the sounds of jets in the early hours of the morning for a brief 15 minutes, but it has been complete calm since then,” the correspondent said, adding that the situation on the ground remains “tense”.

The conflict between the Iran-aligned Houthi militia and troops loyal to Hadi escalated in 2015, when he fled into Saudi exile and a Saudi-led military coalition intervened.

Since then, the war has killed some 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, although human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

The conflict has unleashed a major humanitarian crisis and pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine.


Syria Kurds urge world to take back foreign militants

Updated 24 March 2019
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Syria Kurds urge world to take back foreign militants

  • The Kurdish administration’s top foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar warned that its foreign captives still pose a threat
  • Many of the suspected militants’ countries of origin are reluctant to take them back due to potential security risks

OMAR OIL FIELD, Syria: Syria’s Kurds warned Sunday that the thousands of foreign militants they have detained in their fight against the Daesh group are a time-bomb the international community urgently needs to defuse.
Speaking a day after Kurdish-led forces announced the final demise of the militants’ physical “caliphate,” the Kurdish administration’s top foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar warned that its foreign captives still pose a threat.
“There are thousands of fighters, children and women and from 54 countries, not including Iraqis and Syrians, who are a serious burden and danger for us and for the international community,” Omar said.
“Numbers increased massively during the last 20 days of the Baghouz operation,” he said, referring to the village by the Euphrates where diehard militants made a bloody last stand.
The fate of foreign Daesh fighters has become a major issue as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces closed in on the once-sprawling proto-state the militants declared in 2014.
After a months-long assault by the US-backed SDF to flush out the last Daesh strongholds in the Euphrates Valley, militants and their families gradually gathered in Baghouz as the last rump of the “caliphate” shrank around them.
While some managed to escape, many of the foreigners stayed behind, either surrendering to the SDF or fighting to the death.
According to the SDF, 66,000 people left the last Daesh pocket since January, including 5,000 militants and 24,000 of their relatives.
The assault was paused multiple times as the SDF opened humanitarian corridors for people evacuating the besieged enclave.
The droves of people scrambling out of Baghouz in recent weeks were screened by the SDF and dispatched to camps further north, where most are still held.
The de facto autonomous Kurdish administration is northeastern Syria has warned it does not have capacity to detain so many people, let alone put them on trial.
But many of the suspected militants’ countries of origin are reluctant to take them back due to potential security risks and a likely public backlash.
Some have even withdrawn citizenship from their nationals detained in Syria.
“There has to be coordination between us and the international community to address this danger,” Abdel Karim Omar said.
“There are thousands of children who have been raised according to IS ideology,” he added.
“If these children are not reeducated and reintegrated in their societies of origin, they are potential future terrorists.”