Houthi ballistic missile hits central Yemeni city of Marib

Houthi ballistic missile hits central Yemeni city of Marib
The Saudi-led coalition intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile targeting Riyadh(File: AFP)
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Updated 01 March 2021

Houthi ballistic missile hits central Yemeni city of Marib

Houthi ballistic missile hits central Yemeni city of Marib
  • Help sought to prevent huge displacement of people

AL-MUKALLA: A ballistic missile fired by the Houthis on Monday killed one civilian and wounded nine others in the central Yemeni city of Marib, local officials said.

It exploded inside Rawdha district, which hosts the city’s largest concentration of displaced people, a health official told Arab News. Marib has a displaced population of more than two million.

The Houthis have escalated missile and drone strikes on Marib since their offensive on the city started last month.

More than 15 missiles and explosive-laden drones have struck the city, killing civilians and provoking local and international condemnation.

Marib is the government’s last bastion in the northern part of Yemen, and is rich in oil and gas.

Local media said on Monday that several Houthi field commanders, including commanders of elite forces, had been killed in fighting with government forces outside the city during the last few days.

More than 1,000 Houthis have been killed, wounded or captured in Marib province in four weeks of heavy fighting, local army commanders said.

On Monday Yemen’s Defense Ministry said that army troops and allied tribesmen, backed by air support from the Arab coalition, had repelled Houthi attacks on different government-controlled areas outside the city.

In Rahabah district, government forces pushed back a Houthi attack on Monday and mounted a counteroffensive, killing and wounding a number of rebels and destroying their equipment, official media quoted Brig. Gen. Hussein Al-Hulaisi, the commander of the Jabal Murad front, as saying.

The army commanders said that government forces recaptured “strategic and important” locations in the district.

In Al-Kasara, north-west of Marib, the army and allied tribesmen foiled a Houthi incursion into their locations and forced them to retreat.

Coalition warplanes targeted Houthi gatherings and military reinforcements, smoothing the way for government forces to take the upper hand and make limited gains, the Defense Ministry said.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak has appealed to the UN and international aid and rights organizations to “urgently” step in to spare the country from another humanitarian crisis.

During a telephone call with the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock on Sunday night, the minister said the Houthi offensive would trigger huge displacements in Marib and aggravate the already dire humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the official Saba news agency reported.

The UN official demanded the Houthis halt their offensive on Marib and unify efforts to address the humanitarian crisis, malnutrition and famine that threatened hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, Saba said.


Sudanese commander says forces secured eastern border with Ethiopia

Sudanese commander says forces secured eastern border with Ethiopia
Updated 27 min 25 sec ago

Sudanese commander says forces secured eastern border with Ethiopia

Sudanese commander says forces secured eastern border with Ethiopia
  • Karar reaffirmed Sudan’s commitment to non-aggression towards neighboring countries

DUBAI: A senior Sudanese commander said on Wednesday that his forces have secured the eastern border with Ethiopia, state news agency SUNA reported.
Lieutenant General Issam Mohammad Hassan Karar said the army was deployed within the borders to secure agricultural areas and retrieve all Sudanese lands in accordance with the 1902 border.
Karar also reaffirmed Sudan’s commitment to non-aggression towards neighboring countries.
Member of the council and head of the Revolutionary Front, Idris Al-Hadi, reconfirmed the statement.
“We will not seek the military solution to resolve the two issues of borders and water as there’s a possibility of resolving them peacefully,” he said.
The fertile Tigray region claimed by both countries has seen a rise in fights as Sudan sends in troops, which Ethiopia has described as an invasion.
The farmland borders Ethiopia’s Tigray region where Addis Ababa launched an offensive against the local leadership in November, sending some 60,000 refugees fleeing into Sudan.


Syria loses chemical weapons watchdog voting rights after poison gas findings

Syria loses chemical weapons watchdog voting rights after poison gas findings
Updated 21 April 2021

Syria loses chemical weapons watchdog voting rights after poison gas findings

Syria loses chemical weapons watchdog voting rights after poison gas findings
AMSTERDAM: Syria on Wednesday was stripped of its voting rights at the global chemical weapons watchdog by member states after its forces were found to have repeatedly used poison gas during the civil war.
A majority of nations voting at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) supported a decision to immediately revoke Syria’s privileges at the agency.

Syrian President Assad to run for re-election in May — state media

Syrian President Assad to run for re-election in May — state media
Updated 21 April 2021

Syrian President Assad to run for re-election in May — state media

Syrian President Assad to run for re-election in May — state media

AMMAN: Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday submitted documents to run for a third term in an election scheduled for May 26, parliament’s speaker said on state media.
Parliament announced the election on Sunday. Washington and the Syrian opposition have denounced it as a farce designed to cement Assad’s authoritarian rule.
Assad’s family and his Baath party have ruled Syria for five decades with the help of the security forces and the army, where his Alawite minority dominate.
This year is the 10th anniversary of a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters which triggered a civil war that has left much of Syria in ruins.
The multi-sided conflict has sucked in world powers, killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions more, but is now nearing its end with Assad, supported by Russian and Iranian allies, back in control of most of the country.
Candidates must have lived in Syria for the last 10 years, which prevents opposition figures in exile from standing.


Syria’s Idlib to get first batch of COVID-19 vaccines

Syria’s Idlib to get first batch of COVID-19 vaccines
Updated 21 April 2021

Syria’s Idlib to get first batch of COVID-19 vaccines

Syria’s Idlib to get first batch of COVID-19 vaccines
  • The delivery will be the first to Syria as part of the Covax program
  • 912,000 doses have been allocated to Syria for a first phase of vaccination

BAB AL-HAWA: A first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses was expected to arrive Wednesday in war-torn northwestern Syria, where millions of people live in dire humanitarian conditions, a UN official said.

The 53,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were dispatched to the rebel-dominated region as part of the Covax facility, which ensures the world’s poorest economies get access to jabs for free.

“Once the vaccines arrive, we are prepared to start vaccination to priority groups through our implementing partners,” said Mahmoud Daher, a senior official with the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

The delivery will be the first to Syria as part of the Covax program, which has already sent vaccine doses to more than 100 different territories worldwide.

The vaccine doses are intended for the extended northwestern Syrian region, which includes the jihadist-dominated Idlib enclave.

The first categories of people to be vaccinated in the coming days in the Idlib region will be medical personnel involved in the battle against the pandemic and first aid responders.

The next group will be people above the age of 60, followed by people from younger age groups with chronic diseases, said Daher, who is based in the Turkish city of Gaziantep.

Much of the Idlib enclave is controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a jihadist organization that includes ex-members of Syria’s former Al-Qaeda franchise.

Other regions of Syria will also receive vaccine doses through Covax, under which 92 countries are eligible.

Imad Zahran, a media officer for the Idlib region’s health department, told AFP that the vaccination campaign was expected to begin early next month and would last approximately three weeks.

According to the WHO, a separate 912,000 doses have been allocated to Syria for a first phase of vaccination in regime controlled and semi-autonomous Kurdish areas.

The aim is to vaccinate 20 percent of the population by year’s end.

Vaccination for health workers has started in government-controlled areas but not with doses received as part of the Covax program.

The official COVID-19 death toll in Syria is low compared to some other countries in the region but credible data collection across the conflict-ravaged country is almost impossible.

Syria’s war has killed more than 388,000 people since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.


UAE receives Israeli envoy to Gulf states

UAE receives Israeli envoy to Gulf states
Updated 21 April 2021

UAE receives Israeli envoy to Gulf states

UAE receives Israeli envoy to Gulf states
  • Both sides discussed mutual cooperation in areas such as trade, investment and tourism
  • The two countries lead the COVID-19 vaccination rollout

RIYADH: The UAE received Zvi Heifetz, Israel’s special envoy to the GCC states, in Abu Dhabi as both countries reviewed the progress of their bilateral relations since signing a peace agreement last September.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, welcomed the Israeli official to explore further UAE-Israeli relations and mutual cooperation in areas such as trade, investment and tourism, state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.

The two countries lead the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and during the meeting underlined the importance of accelerating efforts to ensure recovery from the crisis.

Last month, the UAE established a $10 billion fund to invest in strategic sectors in Israel that include energy, manufacturing and healthcare.

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, both countries have established reciprocal diplomatic missions, launched direct flights and held several trade visits – with the UAE attracting over 50,000 Israeli tourists.