Saudi-led Coalition forces raid two caves used by Houthis to hide drones in Yemen

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malki. (SPA)
Updated 24 March 2019

Saudi-led Coalition forces raid two caves used by Houthis to hide drones in Yemen

  • The caves were located in Sanaa, capital of Yemen, says Coalition spokesman
  • Houthis had been launching rockets and drones toward Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi-led Coalition forces have raided two caves being used by the Houthi militia in Yemen’s capital Sanaa to hide drones, the  military alliance's spokesman said on Sunday.

“The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has conducted a military operation tonight to destroy two legitimate military targets; consisting of two caves used by the Houthi militia to store UAVs, and use them in terrorist operations,” Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malki said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

He said the raid was an extension of previous military operations in January and February that targeted the Iran-backed militia's drone network and capabilities and locations of foreign fighters helping the Houthis.

Al-Malki said the military operation was "in accordance with the customary international humanitarian law" and that "all precautionary measures and necessary action" were taken to spare civilians and avoid collateral damage.

The statement did not specify if the attacks were air strikes or by ground forces.

Earlier, Al-Arabiya TV reported raids on Houthi camps in Sanaa, including the Al-Dailami air base.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Coalition-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a cease-fire and troop pullout deal for Hodeidah, the main entry point for most of Yemen’s imports and aid, at talks in Sweden in December. The pact was the first big breakthrough in efforts to end Yemen’s four-year war.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, which pits the Houthis against other Yemeni factions backed by the Saudi-led coalition and loyal to the government of Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Houthis ousted Hadi’s government from power in Sanaa in late 2014.

(With Reuters)

Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

Updated 21 July 2019

Warning to Turkish artists as singer is jailed for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

  • Actress and singer Zuhal Olcay was charged with insulting Erdogan using hand gestures at a concert in Istanbul in 2016
  • Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence, originally imposed last year but suspended

ANKARA: Accusations of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may lead to a jail sentence — even if the “insult” is in private, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Turkey’s appeals court has upheld an 11-month sentence on actress and singer Zuhal Olcay, 61, after a complaint that she had changed lyrics of songs and used hand gestures to insult the president at a concert in Istanbul in 2016.

The revised lyrics said: “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie. Life will end one day and you’ll say ‘I had a dream’.” Olcay said she had changed the lyrics only because the president’s name fitted the rhyme.

The court confirmed a sentence originally imposed last year, which had been suspended. The singer is expected to spend up to three days in prison, before being released on probation.

“This case highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres.”

Louis Fishman Academic

“Zuhal Olcay is an artist with great stature, and this case shows that no one is out of reach of a judiciary that increasingly has little independence from the government,” Louis Fishman, an assistant professor at City University of New York, told Arab News.

“The message is clear; artists in Turkey should be silent or face legal consequences that can be drawn out for years and eventually lead to prison,” said Fishman, an expert on Turkey.

He said it was significant that the hand gesture at the center of the case had happened at a private concert, and the prosecution began only after it was reported to police by someone in the audience.

“Therefore, this case also highlights the blurring of the public and private spheres,” he said. 

“In other words, there is a growing fear in Turkey of criticizing, or ‘defaming’ Erdogan, not only in public, but also in private. In both cases, vigilant citizens can report such alleged cases to the police.”