Yemeni government back in Aden under deal with separatists

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Yemen's Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed arrives in Aden Monday. (AFP)
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Saudi forces stand guard during the arrival of Yemen's Prime Minister in Aden Monday. (AFP)
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Yemen's Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed arrives in Aden Monday. (AFP)
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Saudi forces stand guard during the arrival of Yemen's Prime Minister in Aden Monday. (AFP)
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Saudi forces stand guard during the arrival of Yemen's Prime Minister in Aden Monday. (AFP)
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Yemen's Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed arrives in Aden Monday. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2019

Yemeni government back in Aden under deal with separatists

  • Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed landed in Aden, fulfilling a key point in the power-sharing deal brokered by Saudi Arabia
  • Saeed was accompanied by five key ministers from President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government

ADEN: Yemen’s internationally recognized government returned to the war-torn country on Monday for the first time since it was forced out by southern separatists during clashes last summer.
Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed landed in Aden, fulfilling a key point in the power-sharing deal brokered by Saudi Arabia that ended months of infighting with separatists in Yemen’s south.
“The government’s priorities in the next stage are to normalize the situation in Aden first and then consolidate state institutions on the ground ... as a guarantor of stability,” Saeed told The Associated Press when he disembarked onto the tarmac.
He described the government’s return as “foundational for the improvement of civic services,” but added that “security challenges cannot be overlooked, especially at this stage.”
Saeed, accompanied by five key ministers from President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government, was received by local officials and Saudi forces at the air base.
“Today we are uniting our efforts to defeat the Iranian project in Yemen and restore the state,” the government said in a statement.
In August, the separatists, overran Aden and drove out forces loyal to President Hadi, who has been based in Saudi Arabia since 2015.
The outbreak of violence between nominal partners in the coalition fighting against Iran-allied Houthi rebels added a new twist to the country’s complex civil war.
The power-sharing deal, signed earlier this month in Riyadh, calls for both sides to pull their forces out of Aden. That leaves the city under the coalition’s control, with only a presidential guard for Hadi’s protection if the exiled president were to return.
The agreement also asks that the separatists break up their militias and integrate them into Hadi’s forces.
“The plan for incorporating the security services needs to be clear and transparent,” Saeed told The Associated Press. “We have the support of the Saudis and the coalition leaders, factors that will help to implement the agreement through promising steps on the ground.”
The conflict in the Arab’s world’s poorest country started in 2014, when the Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa, along with much of the country’s north. The Saudi-led alliance intervened in 2015 to drive out the Houthis and restore Hadi’s government.

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UN demands humanitarian corridors for Syria refugees

Updated 19 February 2020

UN demands humanitarian corridors for Syria refugees

  • ‘Inhumane’ regime attacks denounced

BEIRUT, ANKARA: Syrian regime troops on Tuesday pressed an offensive on the country’s last major opposition enclave where the mass displacement of civilians is sparking fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Around 900,000 people have been forced from their homes and shelters in less than three months, leaving huge numbers to sleep rough in the thick of winter.

The UN said that half a million among them were children, some of whom have died of exposure in snow-covered camps. 

“Over the past four days alone, some 43,000 newly displaced people have fled western Aleppo where fighting has been particularly fierce,” UN spokesman David Swanson said.

Since the start of February, the displacement figure was a staggering 300,000, he said.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for the creation of humanitarian corridors, expressing horror at the  regime offensive. 

“No shelter is now safe. And as the government offensive continues and people are forced into smaller and smaller pockets, I fear even more people will be killed,” Michelle Bachelet said.

Bachelet was “horrified” by the unfolding humanitarian crisis, a statement said. “How can anyone justify carrying out such indiscriminate and inhumane attacks?” Bachelet said.

Tuesday’s violence left at least two civilians dead. A member of regime-backer Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was killed in Aleppo province in a rocket strike.

According to Save The Children, seven children — including a baby only seven months old — have died from freezing temperatures and bad living conditions in the camps.

“We’re worried that the death toll will increase given the absolutely inhumane living conditions that women and children are finding themselves in,” the charity’s Syria director Sonia Khush said.

Meanwhile, Turkey will deploy more troops to Idlib and retaliate against attacks by regime forces there, even as Ankara continues to discuss the situation with Moscow, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.