UAE court jails six for setting up Hezbollah-linked terror cell

A United Arab Emirates court sentenced six people to up to life in prison for establishing a cell linked to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. (File/AP)
Updated 15 May 2019

UAE court jails six for setting up Hezbollah-linked terror cell

DUBAI: Four men were sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for setting up a terrorist cell with links to Hezbollah.
The Federal Court of Appeal sentenced another two men to 10 years each in jail and acquitted five others, the state news agency WAM reported.
The men, described as Arab, were convicted on charges of planning to commit terrorist crimes and acts of vandalism against vital installations in the country.
The 11 defendants, all of whom have lived and worked in the UAE for more than 15 years, were arrested in late 2017 and early 2018.
They were charged in February with establishing a cell linked to the Iran-backed Hezbollah group.
The court ordered them to be deported from the country after their sentences end, confiscated all their communications equipment, computers and mobile phones and charged them with all the judicial expenses.
The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 2016 and warned its citizens and resident expatriates against any links to it.


Anti-Assad fighters withdraw from key area of northwest Syria

Updated 20 August 2019

Anti-Assad fighters withdraw from key area of northwest Syria

  • The withdrawal means an important Turkish observation point in the nearby town of Morek is effectively surrounded by government forces
  • After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with Turkey is the last major stronghold of opposition to President Bashar

BEIRUT: Jihadists and allied rebels withdrew from a key area of northwestern Syria Tuesday as President Bashar Assad’s forces pressed an offensive against the jihadist-run Idlib region, a war monitor said.
The fighters pulled back from the town of Khan Sheikun and the countryside to its south overnight and in the early hours of Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The withdrawal means an important Turkish observation point in the nearby town of Morek is effectively surrounded by government forces, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
On Monday, a Turkish military convoy crossed the border into the Idlib region, sparking condemnation from Damascus as Ankara alleged air strikes had targeted its troops.
The convoy halted just north of Khan Sheikhun on Monday afternoon and remained there on Tuesday, after government forces took control of a section of the highway into the town.
Pro-government newspaper Al-Watan said Monday morning’s strike targeted a rebel vehicle scouting the road in front of the Turkish convoy.
“The Syrian army in its own way sent a clear message to the Turkish regime by forcing convoys sent by Ankara to help the terrorists in Khan Sheikhun to come to a halt,” it said.
It was a “clear warning against any Turkish attempt to resuscitate the terrorists,” the paper said, adding that the strike had “Russian support.”
After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with Turkey is the last major stronghold of opposition to President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Since January, it has been administered by the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham alliance, which is led by jihadists from Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
The region of some three million people was supposed to be protected by a Turkish-Russian buffer zone deal signed last year.
But government and Russian forces have subjected it to heavy bombardment since late April, killing more than 860 civilians, according to an Observatory toll.
The United Nations says the shelling and air strikes have also hit dozens of health facilities and caused more than 400,000 people to flee their homes.
The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people since the rebels first took arms following the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.
Rival interventions by outside powers have turned it into a complex conflict with multiple battle fronts that has driven millions of civilians from their homes.