UAE says Khamenei meeting proves Houthis are Iran’s proxy

Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with Mohammed Abdul-Salam of the Houthi militants in Tehran on Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 15 August 2019

UAE says Khamenei meeting proves Houthis are Iran’s proxy

  • State TV showed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praising the militants Tuesday, as he met a Houthi negotiator
  • 'The Houthis are a proxy and that is the correct terminology,' said UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash

LONDON: A meeting between a Houthi official and Iran's Supreme Leader proves “in black and white” that the Yemeni militants are an Iranian proxy, a senior Emirati said Wednesday.

State TV showed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praising the militants Tuesday, as he met the Houthi negotiator, Mohammed Abdul-Salam. Iran has long been accused of supporting the group, which sparked the war in 2014 when they seized the capital Sanaa.

 

 

Houthi relations with Iran are “clearer following their leadership’s meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei,” the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter. The relationship was “stated in black and white in their statement of fealty,” he added. “The Houthis are a proxy and that is the correct terminology.”

Iran’s support for the Houthis and supply of weapons is regarded as one of the key reasons the war in Yemen has lasted so long. An Arab coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, is supporting troops loyal to the internationally recognized government against the Houthis.

The meeting in Tehran is the first time Khamenei has held talks with a senior Houthi representative, Reuters reported.

"I declare my support for the resistance of Yemen's believing men and women ... Yemen’s people... will establish a strong government," Khamenei said.

Yemen's government and the Arab coalition accuse the Houthis of collapsing previous UN-sponsored talks to find a political settlement to the conflict.

Saudi Arabia and its allies say Iran’s support of proxy militias in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and groups in Iraq, is the main cause of instability in the region.


Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 16 min 5 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in northwest Syria, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.
The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.
The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.
In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”
A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”
Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”
At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.
Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.
Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 
In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 
According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.
The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.
The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.