Houthis intensify clampdown on opponents

A follower of the Shi'ite Houthi movement carries a rifle during a ceremony in Sanaa, Yemen September 9, 2017. (REUTERS)
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Updated 21 July 2020

Houthis intensify clampdown on opponents

  • Houthis raid houses of lawmaker while EU calls for release of four journalists sentenced to death

AL-MUKALLA: The Iran-backed Houthis in Sanaa have stormed properties of Yasser Al-Awadhi, a tribal and political leader who led a military uprising against their rule in the central province of Al-Bayda.

The move comes amid an intensified crackdown on their opponents. They have sentenced dozens of army commanders, tribal leaders and legislators to death and confiscated properties in areas under their control.

Local media said that armed men entered Al-Awadhi’s house and told its occupants to leave, then moved to his shops around the capital.

Al-Awadhi, a senior member of the General People’s Congress and a leader of Al-Awadh tribe, last month led a large number of tribesmen against the Houthis after the Houthis refused to punish local fighters who had killed a woman.

The Houthis crushed the uprising, forcing Al-Awadhi and the tribesmen to move into government-controlled areas in Al-Bayda.

Yemen Today TV, a mouthpiece for, said the Houthis confiscated all the properties owned by Al-Awadhi and his siblings.

The Houthi official media said their security services were executing judiciary orders for confiscating properties of Yemeni political, military and tribal figures who opposed their rule and backed the internationally recognized government and the Arab coalition-led military operations in the country.

At the same time, the Houthi-controlled parliament in Sanaa has begun discussing stripping 12 MPs of their parliamentarian immunity ahead of putting them on trial for supporting the group’s enemies.

On Monday, the EU Heads of Mission to Yemen called upon the Houthis to immediately release the four Yemeni journalists who were sentenced to death, urging warring factions in Yemen to stop the harassment of journalists.

FASTFACT

In April, Houthis triggered a local and international outrage after a court under their control in Sanaa sentenced four journalists to death, accusing them of espionage.

“The EU Heads of Mission call on all parties to immediately release all detained journalists in Yemen, including Akram Al-Walidi, Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri who have been sentenced to death. The uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 makes their release all more urgent,” the mission said in a statement.

In April, Houthi triggered local and international outrage after a court under their control in Sanaa sentenced the four journalists to death, accusing them of espionage.

Officer killed

A security officer and his bodyguard were killed on Monday when unidentified gunmen attacked their military vehicle in the southern province of Abyan, Abyan security forces said in a statement.

Captain Abdullah Ahmed Al-Hanshi, the commander of Special Security Forces in Al-Mahfad district, and his bodyguard Samed Abdullah Al-Hanshi were driving their armed vehicle in Al-Haq region in Abyan’s Al-Mahfad when they came under heavy gunfire that killed them instantly.

The Yemeni government has many times accused local separatists of plotting attacks on its forces heading to neighboring Shouqra.

In the western Hodeidah, fighting raged on Monday for the third consecutive day in different contested locations in the province as the rebels sought to capture new areas outside the city of Hodeidah. The pro-government Joint Forces said in a statement that 12 Houthis, including nine snipers, were killed in foiled attacks in Durihimi, Al-Jah, Al-Fazeh, Hayes and Attuhayta.

A peace agreement signed between the government and the Houthis in late 2018 has largely failed to halt hostilities as both sides continue to trade shelling.

Local rights groups say more than 500 civilians have been killed in Houthi fire and landmines in Hodeidah since December 2018.

 

 


UN warns of possible ‘war crimes’ in Turkish-controlled Syria

Updated 28 min 36 sec ago

UN warns of possible ‘war crimes’ in Turkish-controlled Syria

  • The victims include people perceived to be allied with opposing parties or as being critical of the actions of the Turkish-affiliated armed groups, Bachelet’s office said
  • Those affiliated groups have also seized and looted houses, land and property without any apparent military necessity, said OHCHR

GENEVA: Armed groups in the area of northern Syria controlled by Turkey may have committed war crimes and other violations of international law, the UN rights chief said Friday.
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the situation in those areas of Syria was grim, with violence and criminality rife.
In a statement, Bachelet’s UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said it had noted an “alarming pattern in recent months of grave violations,” having documented increased killings, kidnappings, unlawful transfers of people, seizures of land and properties and forcible evictions.
The victims include people perceived to be allied with opposing parties or as being critical of the actions of the Turkish-affiliated armed groups, Bachelet’s office said.
Those affiliated groups have also seized and looted houses, land and property without any apparent military necessity, said OHCHR.
Furthermore, increased infighting among the various Turkish-affiliated armed groups over power-sharing was causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.
Turkey controls large stretches of northeastern Syria through various armed groups, and is conducting operations aimed at driving out Kurdish militias and extremists.
In October last year, Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies occupied a 120-kilometer (75-mile) stretch of land inside the Syrian border from Kurdish forces.
Ankara has also deployed forces in several military posts it established in northwestern Idlib as part of a 2018 deal with regime ally Moscow, while Turkey also controls a stretch of territory along its border in neighboring Aleppo province following a series of military offensives since 2016.Bachelet’s office said it had documented the abduction and disappearance of civilians, including women and children.
It also said that from the start of the year until last Monday, it had verified the deaths of at least 116 civilians as a result of improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war, while a further 463 civilians were injured.
“I urge Turkey to immediately launch an impartial, transparent and independent investigation into the incidents we have verified, account for the fate of those detained and abducted by the affiliated armed groups and hold accountable those responsible for what may, in some instances, amount to crimes under international law, including war crimes,” Bachelet said.
“This is all the more vital given that we have received disturbing reports that some detainees and abductees have allegedly been transferred to Turkey following their detention in Syria by affiliated armed groups.”
Meanwhile Bachelet voiced concern that parties to the conflict in Syria were using essential services as a weapon.
“Impeding access to water, sanitation and electricity endangers the lives of large numbers of people, a danger rendered all the more acute amid fighting a global pandemic,” she said.