MSF leaving Yemen hospital where Houthis ‘threatened workers at gunpoint’

Aid backages are being unloaded from a Doctors Without Borders plane at Sanaa International Airport, in this May 14, 2015 file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 25 March 2017

MSF leaving Yemen hospital where Houthis ‘threatened workers at gunpoint’

AMMAN: Houthi “interference” has prompted Doctors Without Borders to start withdrawing from a hospital in Yemen, a senior official said.
The military presence at the Al-Thawra hospital, in the governorate of Ibb, is violating the sanctity of the medical profession, the official told Arab News.
The Houthi presence has prompted Doctors Without Borders, which is known by its French acronym MSF, to terminate provision of services and withdraw from the hospital.
Speaking by phone from Zurich, the organization’s deputy director, medical doctor Tammam Al-Oudat, said the Houthis continue to obstruct the work of the MSF teams, as well as of other medics operating at the hospital.
This is impeding them from performing their duties and from providing proper medical services to patients, he said.
“We have asked the (Houthi militias) to guarantee full and free access to patients to hospitals, as well as end the military presence in the hospital and stop interfering with the medics’ decision-making process,” Al-Oudat told Arab News.
“They refused to meet our demands and therefore the MSF decided to gradually end its services and leave the hospital over the next three months.”
Meanwhile, the Yemeni press quoted Local Affairs Minister Abdul Raqib Fattah as saying that Houthi militia had broken into the Al-Thawra hospital and threatened workers at gunpoint.
He called on relevant UN organizations to condemn Houthi aggression against the medical teams in areas under their control.
Al-Oudat said MSF medical teams will continue to provide medical services to locals in the Al-Shifa hospital, in the same governorate, which receives patients from Taiz.
According to Al-Oudat, the Al-Thawra hospital will continue to operate, but under the supervision and administration of Yemeni medical staff.
The MSF has been working at the hospital since 2015.
Al-Oudat said that over the past month, MSF has received over 41,000 patients at the Al-Thawra hospital, with more than 50,000 surgeries conducted on citizens from across Yemen since the war broke out nearly two years ago.
MSF teams are also providing medical services to Yemenis in eight governorates across Yemen.
Access to quality, affordable health care is severely compromised, Al-Oudat said, and after almost two years of war, humanitarian and medical aid is still failing to meet people’s most basic needs.
In a separate development, a Saudi soldier was killed by a missile fired by the Houthis that struck a military base near the border, the Interior Ministry said Friday.
The missile was launched late Thursday from a rebel-controlled area in Yemen and hit a base in Dhahran South, killing border guard Atallah Yassine Al-Anzi, according to a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).


Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

In this file photo taken on July 22, 2019 French antiterrorist judge David De Pas poses during a photo session in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 14 min 17 sec ago

Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

  • Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape

PARIS: The refusal of the French government to take back Daesh militants from Syria could fuel a new militant recruitment drive in France, threatening public safety, a leading anti-terrorism investigator has told AFP.
David De Pas, coordinator of France’s 12 anti-terrorism examining magistrates, said it would be “better to know that these people are in the care of the judiciary” in France “than let them roam free.”
Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape.
Officials in Paris say 60 to 70 French fighters are among those held, with around 200 adults, including militants’ wives, being held in total, along with some 300 children.

SPEEDREAD

France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.

France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.
This week, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Iraq to try convince Baghdad to take in and try French militants being held in northern Syria. On Friday, in a rare interview, De Pas argued that instability in the region and the “porous nature” of the Syrian Kurdish prison camps risked triggering “uncontrolled migration of jihadists to Europe, with the risk of attacks by very ideological people.”
The Turkish offensive, which has detracted the Kurds’ attention from fighting Daesh, could also facilitate the “re-emergence of battle-hardened, determined terrorist groups.”