Arab coalition targets six Houthi air defense, ballistic missile sites in Sanaa

Cars are parked outside the Abha airport in the southern Saudi Arabian popular mountain resort of the same name, on July 2, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 July 2019

Arab coalition targets six Houthi air defense, ballistic missile sites in Sanaa

  • The Iranian-backed militia remained futile in their attempts to target the civilian areas as well as the civilian population
  • The Arab coalition command would take strict measures to paralyze and neutralize all hostile capabilities of the militia

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s legitimate government confirmed on early Saturday morning that it had carried out an operation to destroy five air defense sites and ballistic missile depots in the Yemeni province of Sanaa, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said that the targeting process is an extension of past military operations carried out by the Arab coalition to identify and  destroy air defense capabilities and other hostile capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

Al-Maliki said that the coalition forces were committed to preventing the Houthi militia, as well as other terrorist organizations, from obtaining such capabilities, which represent a direct threat to civilians, UN aircraft and air navigation.

Al-Maliki said that the targeting process was consistent with international humanitarian law and its customary laws, and that the leadership of the coalition forces had taken all preventive procedures and measures to protect civilians.


TIMELINE

• July 20: The coalition forces intercepted a drone directed toward Abha.

• July 17: The forces intercepted a drone launched toward Jazan.

• July 16: The forces shot down three drones that were heading for southern Saudi Arabia and the cities of Jazan and Abha. 

• July 15: The forces intercepted two drones launched toward civilian targets in southern Saudi Arabia.

• June 23: An attack on Abha airport killed a Syrian national and wounded 21 other civilians.

• June 12: A missile attack on Abha airport wounded 26 civilians.

• July 2: Another attack on the Abha airport left nine civilians wounded.


Also on Saturday, the coalition forces intercepted and shot down a drone launched by the Houthi militia in Amran governorate and directed toward Abha.

Al-Maliki said that the Iranian-backed militia remained futile in their attempts to target civilian areas.

The coalition will take strict measures to paralyze and neutralize all hostile capabilities of the militia within international humanitarian law, he said.

Repeated Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia have been reported since the Kingdom led a coalition intervention in March 2015 to restore the UN-backed Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which the militia had ousted.


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.