Yemen forces prepare assault on Houthis near key strait

Yemeni pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition approach the key Al-Anad military base in the southern Lahj governorate, some 50 kms north of the Red Sea port of Aden, in this August 3, 2015 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 04 December 2016

Yemen forces prepare assault on Houthis near key strait

ADEN: Yemeni government forces have sent reinforcements to the Red Sea coast to drive Iran-backed rebels away from a key global shipping route, military officials said on Saturday.
Dhubab, just 30 km from the strategic and busy Bab Al-Mandab strait, links the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Two US warships and an Emirati vessel in the Red Sea came under Houthi missile attacks in September and October.
The government now aims to “push back the rebels away from the western coast and Bab Al-Mandab, and to secure maritime navigation in the southern part of the Red Sea,” a military official said.
Pro-government forces have been sent to the area, backed by tanks, other armored vehicles and Katyusha rocket launchers, military officials said.
They said the offensive aimed to wrest back control of the coast from Dhubab as far north as Al-Khukha 90 km farther north.
Troops were also sent by the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry has expressed concern after the Houthis and their allies formed a new government in a blow to UN-backed efforts to end 20 months of war in the country.
In a statement late on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said it supported Yemen’s legal government. “We do not approve of any side in Yemen taking any unilateral actions that complicate the situation, and believe this is not beneficial to a political resolution of the Yemen issue.”
China hopes relevant parties in Yemen continue dialogue to resolve the differences and reach an equitable settlement all sides can accept on the basis of UN resolutions and GCC initiatives, it added. 

 


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.