Yemen crisis will ‘most likely’ require military solution because of Iran influence, says Hadi

Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi
Updated 24 September 2017

Yemen crisis will ‘most likely’ require military solution because of Iran influence, says Hadi

DUBAI: Yemen’s civil war will “most likely” require a military solution because of Tehran’s influence, the country’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“The military solution is the most likely because it is not their (the Houthis’) decision to make,” he said in a recent interview with Al-Arabiya television, referring to the militias and their backers, Iran.
“Even if you come to an agreement with them, they call up Iran ... back out, and then you don’t have a deal,” he said.
The interview came just days after the third anniversary of the Houthi takeover of Sanaa, which the rebels control in coordination with forces loyal to Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The rebels were in March 2015 on the verge of seizing total control of Yemen when Saudi Arabia formed an Arab military coalition and intervened in support of Hadi’s forces.
Hadi, who has taken refuge in Riyadh, said that US policy in the region had improved under President Donald Trump.
“The American position now is better than it was under (hir predecessor Barack) Obama, because Obama’s priority was getting the nuclear deal,” which had allowed Iran to “expand” its influence, he said.
Hadi said Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry had proposed he govern with a vice president chosen by the Houthis, a proposal he had refused.
In contrast, Hadi said his government was on the same page as the Trump administration with a common goal “to increase pressure on the Houthis and on Iran.”
Although he largely discounted the negotiations track, Hadi said his internationally-recognized government would “continue to extend its hand to peace.”

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

Updated 26 May 2020

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

  • Syria records 20 new cases of coronavirus in largest single-day increase

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS: Traffic returned to a major highway in northeastern Syria for the first time in seven months on Monday, following Russian mediation to reopen parts of the road captured last year by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Syrian Kurdish media and a Syrian Kurdish official said several vehicles accompanied by Russian troops began driving in the morning between the northern towns of Ein Issa and Tal Tamr. 

The two towns are controlled by regime forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters while the area between them is mostly held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured parts of the highway known as M4 in October, when Ankara invaded northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters. The M4 links Syria’s coastal region all the way east to the Iraqi border.

Four convoys will drive on the M4 every day with two leaving from Tal Tamr and two from Ein Issa, according to the Kurdish ANHA news agency. The report said a convoy will leave from each town at 8 a.m., and another set of convoys will do the same, three hours later.

The ANHA agency added that the opening of the highway will shorten the trip between the two towns as people previously had to take roundabout, side roads.

“This is the first time the road has been opened” since October, said Mervan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Russia, a main power broker with Turkey in Syria, mediated the deal to reopen the highway, he said. Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

Coronavirus cases

Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.