‘Yemen’s Houthi militia using Iranian-made drone aircraft’: Arab coalition

Arab coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki holds a press conference at the King Salman airbase in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 21 January 2019

‘Yemen’s Houthi militia using Iranian-made drone aircraft’: Arab coalition

  • Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the Houthis have used the aircraft to carry out a number of attacks
  • Al-Maliki said a coalition military operation that was conducted in Sanaa on Saturday night

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition on Sunday said the Houthi militia are in possession of Iranian-made drones “Shahed 129” and are using residential areas to hide the aircraft.
On Saturday night, the Arab coalition destroyed seven Houthi drone facilities in Sanaa in an airstrike.
Addressing a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday, coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the attack followed an extensive intelligence-gathering operation that monitored movements of the Houthi militia and helped identify the Iranian-backed group’s operational and logistical infrastructure.
Targets included drone storage areas, manufacturing and repair workshops, and launch platforms, as well as training facilities for terrorist operations, he said.
He added: “We attacked a helicopter platform belonging to the Houthi militia in an area between Sanaa and Saada.”
Al-Maliki confirmed that Iran had provided the Houthi militia with “Ababil-T drones.”
Al-Maliki said the military strike was carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law. The coalition’s Joint Forces Command took all necessary precautions to protect civilians and avoid collateral damage, he added.
Al-Maliki reaffirmed the commitment of the coalition’s Joint Forces Command to international humanitarian law in all military operations, and said the coalition would continue to deny Houthi militia and terrorist groups access to capabilities that threaten regional and international security.
He said the Houthis have used drones to carry out a number of attacks and are using Sanaa airport for military purposes.
 He also showed videos and pictures of Saturday’s operations against the militia group in Sanaa, models of aircraft used by the Houthis in their attacks and the bombing of a cave used by the Iran-backed terrorist group as a command center in Sanaa.

20 Houthis killed
More than 20 Houthis were killed in military operations carried out by the Yemeni army backed by the coalition’s air support in Taiz.
A Yemeni military source said the Arab coalition conducted airstrikes killing five Houthis, injuring others. A vehicle laden with ammunition was also destroyed in the joint operation.
“Nine more militants were killed by the Yemeni army’s artillery shelling, which targeted a meeting held by the militia at a farm, the source added. He confirmed that Houthi commanders were among those killed.
“The Yemeni army also targeted reinforcements of the militia near Al-Rawd School killing and injuring a number of insurgents.”
“Multiple infiltration attempts were thwarted by the Yemeni armed forces west of the city, while two Houthis were killed in a failed infiltration attempt targeting Al-Tashrifat military camp in eastern Taiz,” the source said.
The airstrikes late Saturday were the first by the coalition in Sanaa since a deal reached last month between coalition-backed government and the Houthis, which have been at war since 2014.
The deal provided for a cease-fire and a withdrawal of rival forces from the contested port city of Hodeidah on the Red Sea as well as an exchange of prisoners, but the implementation has run into difficulties.
Earlier this month, a bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthis targeted a military parade near the government-held city of Aden on the Arabian Sea, killing at least seven people, including the commander of military intelligence.


Airstrikes kill 19 civilians in northwest Syria

Updated 08 December 2019

Airstrikes kill 19 civilians in northwest Syria

  • The airstrikes on Idlib province have intensified over the past few weeks

AL-BARA, Syria: Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes on Saturday killed 19 civilians, eight of them children, in the country’s last major opposition bastion, a war monitor said.

The air raids in the rebel-run northwestern region of Idlib also wounded several others, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Airstrikes by regime ally Russia killed four civilians including a child in the village of Al-Bara in the south of the region, the Observatory said.

An AFP correspondent at the scene saw rescue workers pick through the rubble of a two-story home whose concrete roof had collapsed.

Rescuers carried away the body of a victim wrapped in a blanket on a stretcher.

Russian raids also killed nine civilians including three children in the nearby village of Balyun, the Observatory said.

Crude barrel bombs dropped by government helicopters killed five civilians including three children in the village of Abadeeta, also in the same area.

In the southeast of the embattled region, a raid by a regime aircraft killed another child in the village of Bajghas, the Observatory said.

The Britain-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, says it determines the provenance of an airstrike by looking at flight patterns and the aircraft and munitions involved.

The airstrikes on Idlib province have intensified over the past few weeks as the government appears to be preparing for an offensive on rebel-held areas east of the province to secure the main highway that links the capital Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest and once commercial center.

The Idlib region, which is home to some 3 million people including many displaced by Syria’s civil war, is controlled by the country’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The Damascus regime has repeatedly vowed to take back control of Idlib.

Bashar Assad’s forces launched a blistering military campaign against the region in April, killing around 1,000 civilians and displacing more than 400,000 people from their homes. A cease-fire announced by Moscow has largely held since late August.

But the Observatory says deadly bombardment and skirmishes have persisted, with more than 200 civilians killed in the region since the deal.

Syria’s war has killed over 370,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since beginning in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests.

Earlier, the Observatory and the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense said four people, including a child and two women, were killed in airstrikes on the opposition-held village of Bara.

The Observatory said five others were killed in the village of Ibdeita and a child in another village nearby.

Different casualty figures are common in the immediate aftermath of violence in Syria, where an eight-year conflict has killed about 400,000 people, wounded more than a million and displaced half the country’s prewar population.

Syrian troops launched a four-month offensive earlier this year on Idlib, which is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants. The government offensive forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

A fragile cease-fire halted the government advance in late August but has been repeatedly violated in recent weeks.