Feeling the pinch in Syria, Iran ups ante in Yemen

Saudi Patriot missiles enhance the Kingdom’s defense capability against the Houthi threat from Yemen. (Photo courtesy: Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces.
Updated 09 April 2017

Feeling the pinch in Syria, Iran ups ante in Yemen

JEDDAH: Feeling the heat from the US, Iran is attempting to shift global attention to Yemen, an analyst told Arab News, as Arab Coalition Forces intercepted 12 ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militias toward the Yemeni city of Al-Mokha.
In the early hours of Saturday, the Patriot system intercepted the missiles, which were launched within less than one hour, and prevented the deaths of civilians, Rajeh Badi, Yemeni government spokesman, told Arab News on Saturday.
Twelve ballistic missiles launched in less than one hour is an extraordinary attack, he said.
He called on the international community to move vigorously to disarm the militia, which poses a risk to the lives of Yemenis.
Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations expert, told Arab News that the launching of a large number of ballistic missiles in a short time constitutes a serious escalation by the Iran-backed rebels. He added that the Houthi attacks call for an international response to curb the Iranian intervention not only in Yemen but in the region.
“The Iranians have been supplying Houthis with weapons for years, and will continue to do so,” Al-Shehri said. “The US strike in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons was decisive; a similar action must be taken against Iran in Yemen in order to bring the Yemeni crisis to a peaceful settlement.”
He said: “Iran is suspected of having a hand in Syria’s chemical attack just as it is behind the launch of the ballistic missiles on a densely populated Yemeni city of Al-Mokha. Fortunately, the coalition’s air defense system intercepted the missiles and prevented carnage of civilians. The international community should take this Houthi crime as a serious escalation and act without delay.”
Yemeni spokesman Badi said Iran is still supplying the Houthi militia with weapons and missiles via more than one route including Yemeni seaports, which are still under the control of these militias such as Al-Hodeida Port.
He called on the international community to liberate all Yemeni ports from the Houthis. He said missiles are being launched daily on the cities of Marib, Aden and Taiz.
In the meantime, the Yemeni Army has regained two new locations in Hijah Province after a fierce battle with the Houthi militia, army sources said.
The sources said the Yemeni forces captured three members of the Houthi militia in the two captured posts, while a number of deaths and injuries were reported among the militia during the Yemeni Army’s attack on the militia in Tiba Sofa and Bihan fronts.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni Army foiled an infiltration attempt by the Houthis in the Isailan area, sources said.


Turkey plans to resume flights with 40 countries in June

Updated 29 min ago

Turkey plans to resume flights with 40 countries in June

  • Turkey largely sealed off its borders as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak
  • Domestic flights resumed on Monday to some provinces

ANKARA: Turkey plans to resume flights with around 40 countries in June and has reached preliminary agreements for reciprocal air travel with 15 countries, Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said on Thursday.
Turkey largely sealed off its borders as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Domestic flights resumed on Monday to some provinces as Ankara eased restrictions after a significant drop in infection rates.
Karaismailoglu said flights would resume in five stages in June, adding Turkey was in talks with 92 countries on resuming flights in a safe manner.
“We believe that we have left behind an important point in the battle against the virus globally. Now, we have to continue our global ties and trade,” he said in a written statement.
Flights to Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece will resume on June 10, he said. Flights to 17 destinations, including Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Singapore will restart on June 15. Flights to a further 16 countries will begin on June 20, 22 and 25, including to South Korea, Qatar, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium, he added.
The 15 countries with which Ankara has reached a preliminary agreement to resume reciprocal flights include Italy, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Albania, Belarus, Jordan and Morocco.
Germany said on Wednesday it was talking to Ankara about reviewing travel restrictions but was awaiting a recommendation from the European Union.
The virus has killed 4,609 people in Turkey, with more than 165,000 infections so far.