19 Million Yemenis in Need of Relief Aid

19 Million Yemenis in Need of Relief Aid

     (FNA)- The UN relief aid chief said 19 million out of Yemen’s 26-million population are in pressing need of humanitarian assistance, warning that the impoverished country faces a “serious risk of famine.”

Speaking during a visit to the Yemeni port city of Aden, Stephen O’Brien, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, called on the international community to increase its funding for life-saving operations in Yemen, Shafaqna reported.

“Today, almost 19 million people in Yemen need humanitarian assistance. Seven million people don’t know where their next meal is coming from and we now face a serious risk of famine,” O’Brien said.

Citing tallies by health facilities, the UN official said more than 7,500 people have been killed and more than 40,000 more wounded since March 2015, when the Saudi military launched a deadly military campaign against Yemen in support of its former government and imposed an all-out naval blockade on its neighbor.

“We [however] know this is an underreporting, given the dilapidated state of the health system and health facilities across the country and their inability to accurately report the real numbers,” he added.

On Thursday, Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Development, an independent monitoring group, said the civilian death toll from the warfare had climbed to 12,041. The fatalities, it said, comprise 2,568 children and 1,870 women.

O’Brien further said, “Even before the conflict escalated in March 2015, people in Yemen faced enormous levels of humanitarian needs stemming from years of poverty, under-development, environmental decline, intermittent conflict, unpunished corruption, weak rule of law, and rampant human rights violations.”

The official said he was in Aden to discuss the humanitarian situation with members of the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who resigned in 2014 and fled the capital, Sana’a, to Riyadh before coming back to Aden last year.

O’Brien is also scheduled to travel to Sana’a where he will meet with officials of the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is running Yemen’s affairs and defending the nation against the Saudi military offensive with the help of army soldiers and popular forces.

O’Brien further called on Yemeni warring sides “to facilitate commercial imports of food, fuel and medicine from all ports and a resumption of commercial flights” to the Arabian Peninsula state.

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Army Offensives Near Ancient Palmyra City

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Army Offensives Near Ancient Palmyra City

    (FNA)- The Syrian army inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists by hitting their military positions in the vicinity of the ancient city of Palmyra in the Eastern part of Homs province.

The terrorists were pushed back from their strongholds near Palmyra city in Homs province.

Scores of terrorists were killed and wounded in tough battle with the Syrian government forces.

The Syrian army and popular forces also continued their military gains in other key provinces across Syria.

Homs

The Syrian Army troops continued their advances against ISIL in Eastern Homs and deployed troops at strategic heights overlooking an entrance to the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur).

The army soldiers continued to hit ISIL’s defense lines West of Palmyra and managed to take control over al-Maqaleh height and the town of al-Tamthil, deploying forces close to Jabal (mount) al-Tar overlooking the ancient city’s gateway.

In the meantime, the army men could advance against ISIL from the direction of Mount al-Hayel and captured several hills overlooking the Palmyra Triangle Southwest of the city.

Elsewhere in the same province, the army’s artillery units and aircraft pounded the positions of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) and other terrorist groups in al-Wa’er settlement in the Northwestern countryside of Homs city and in the villages and towns of al-Farhaniyeh, al-Qantou, Deir Foul and Talbiseh in Northern Homs, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

Reports said earlier on Monday that the army men struck ISIL’s defense lines and won back al-Seyaqah School in al-Bayarat region West of Palmyra after hours of intense battle with the terrorists.

The army soldiers meantime stormed ISIL’s positions Northwest of Palmyra and seized full control over al-Maqale al-Rakhamiyeh region (marble stone mines), a road connecting Wadi al-Abyadh dam and Palmyra and the entire territories surrounding al-Maher oilfield.

The army troops also drove ISIL out of Hill 5,939 that is the highest in Hayal Mountains overlooking the Triangle of Palmyra.

The army men further fortified their newly-captured positions in areas surrounding the Palmyra Triangle, al-Seyaqah School, al-Maqale al-Rakhamiyeh and Syriatel hill.

Another military source pointed out that the army’s control over the road to Wadi al-Abyadh dam has cut off ISIL’s communication lines to Raqqa.

Aleppo

The Syrian Army troops kicked off a fresh round of attacks on the positions of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) in al-Rashedeen 4 and 5 neighborhoods in the outskirts of, taking control over several building blocks.

The army soldiers re-launched their anti-terrorism offensives in al-Rashedeen 4 and 5 neighborhoods, driving the Al-Nusra out of several residential complexes.

The army men also pushed the Al-Nusra back from several positions where journalists were present to cover the developments, and from the Research Center in the Western outskirts of Aleppo city.

In the meantime and simultaneous with the army advances in the Western and Southwestern outskirts of Aleppo city, the Russian fighter jets targeted the Al-Nusra positions and movements in al-Rashedeen, Journalists’ Association area, near Jam’iyat al-Zahra neighborhood, Zahra Abd Rabeh region and the town of al-Yarmoun, inflicting a number of casualties on the terrorists.

Informed source said earlier on Monday that the army men drove terrorist groups out of al-Rashedeen 5 settlement after eight hours of intense battle on Sunday night, but decided to leave the settlement under heavy mortar attacks by the terrorist groups on residential areas in the Southwestern outskirts of Aleppo city.

The terrorist groups deployed in al-Kalariyeh and Khan al-Assal regions shelled the Syrian Army positons and residential areas in al-Rashedeen 5, the sources said, adding the militants also carried out several counterattacks in the battlefield.

They added that the army men moved towards the Eastern parts of al-Rashedeen near South (bazaar) al-Jabas to decrease casualties after they came under massive mortar and artillery fire by militants.

The Al-Nusra Front and its terrorist allies finally could enter al-Rashedeen and deployed their forces in a number of buildings, the sources said.

Settlements and towns in Western Aleppo have rather lengthy border with militant-held regions in Idlib and the terrorist groups can easily access fresh forces and equipment.

A field commander told FNA that terrorists’ control over Rashedeen 1 (North Rashedeen) has made it difficult for the army men deployed in Jam’iyat al-Zahra and Research Center neighborhoods in the Western part of Aleppo city to continue their march further to the West.

He further added that continued dispatch of militants in al-Rashedeen 1 by terrorist groups has forced the army men to use their positions in Jam’iyat al-Zahra and Research Center neighborhoods to carry out an operation in the Western countryside of Aleppo to stop the terrorists’ heavy mortar attacks on their positions.

Damascus

The Syrian government forces stormed terrorists’ positons in al-Qaboun region in Eastern Ghouta and managed to impose control over 90 percent of the farms.

The army men struck the defense lines of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) in al-Qaboun and Barzeh regions and could drive terrorists out of over 90 percent of al-Qaboun farms, killing tens of militants.

Informed sources in Eastern Damascus said that the army’s missile and artillery units targeted Al-Nusra’s positions in al-Qaboun simultaneous with the ground forces’ advances, destroying terrorists’ command posts.

The sources added that terrorist groups in Harasta, al-Qaboun and Tishrin regions in Eastern Damascus breached ceasefire and inflicted heavy damage on public and private properties in the nearby regions, including al-Abasseen, killing also several civilians.

Deir Ezzur

The Syrian Air Force bombed heavily ISIL’s positions and gatherings in the Southern outskirts of Deir Ezzur city, destroying a main command post of the terrorists and killing a number of them.

The army aircraft pounded ISIL’s defense lines in al-Maqaber (cemetery) and Jonayd Division, leaving a number of militants dead or wounded and a command post of them destroyed.

ISIL’s military vehicles also sustained major damage in the air raid.

In the meantime, the Syrian Army troops engaged in sporadic clashes with ISIL in al-Maqaber, killing or wounding several terrorists.

Also, the army’s artillery units shelled badly ISIL’s concentration centers in al-Maqaber, inflicting more casualties on the terrorists.

Also, the warplanes targeted ISIL’s concentration centers near al-Thardah mountain in the Southern countryside of Deir Ezzur, the regions of Panorama, al-Maqaber, al-Makbat and Jonayd Division in the Southern outskirts of the city on Sunday, killing and wounding a number of terrorists and destroying their military hardware.

Meantime, local sources said after the recent death of one of the members of ISIL’s Hasaba (security and monitoring forces) in the town of Albu Kamal and also death of four other terrorists in the town of al-Mayadeen in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, the terrorists in the region has grown confused and come close to a full collapse.

Dara’a

The Syrian Army soldiers repelled another massive attack of Al-Nusra Front in the Southwestern districts of Dara’a city, killing and wounding a number of terrorists and destroying their equipment.

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra fighters in the neighborhoods of al-Badou, al-Karak, Old Customs and al-Mahjoureh air defense battalion and repelled their attack after inflicting a number of casualties on them.

Three tanks, a machinegun position and three military vehicles of Al-Nusra were destroyed in the failed attack in al-Karak and Northwest of the Old Customs region.

Elsewhere in the same city, the army’s artillery and missile units targeted the concentration center of a group of terrorists Southwest of Dhahiyah al-Yarmouk area in Dara’a al-Balad district, killing the entire members of the group and destroying their arms and ammunition.

Russian rocket-system maker produces drone enclosed in missile

Smerch multiple rocket launcher

Smerch multiple rocket launcher

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. An unmanned air vehicle encapsulated in a Smerch multiple-launch rocket system missile has been created and is now awaiting customers, chief designer of the Splav research and manufacturing association, Nikolai Makarovets, told reporters.

“The idea to create an unmanned air vehicle enclosed in a Smerch missile warhead is not new. We have carried out technological research and produced it at our own expense, we are not hiding it. We hope customers will start streaming in soon,” he said.

 

Russian frigate in Mediterranean to deliver no strikes on terrorists in Syria — source

The Russian air task force in Syria has enough forces and resources for this goal, the source said

© Alexander Karpushkin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Russia has no plans to use the Black Sea Fleet’s advanced frigate Admiral Grigorovich on its Mediterranean voyage for striking terrorists’ positions in Syria with Kalibr cruise missiles, a source in military and diplomatic circles told TASS on Monday.

The frigate Admiral Grigorovich that has left Sevastopol on Monday will pass through the Black Sea Straits on Tuesday morning and join the Russian Navy’s Mediterranean permanent grouping in the evening of February 28, the source said.

“There are no plans for the frigate to use its Kalibr missile systems to deliver strikes against terrorists in Syria,” the source said, adding that the Russian air task force in that Arab country had enough forces and resources for this goal.

The frigate Admiral Grigorovich will call at the Syrian port of Tartus during its Mediterranean voyage to replenish water, fuel and food supplies, the source said.

As the Russian Defense Ministry reported earlier, the Admiral Grigorovich has left on Monday for its third distant-waters voyage to operate within the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean naval task force.

In December last year, the frigate returned from the Mediterranean Sea where it had operated for a month and a half as part of the Russian Navy’s permanent grouping. The frigate participated in Russia’s large-scale anti-terror operation, delivering strikes against militants’ positions in Syria with Kalibr cruise missiles.

The Admiral Grigorovich is the Project 11356 lead frigate delivered to the Russian Navy in March 2016.

The Project 11356 frigates have a displacement of 4,000 tons, a length of 124.8 meters, a speed of 30 knots and endurance of 30 days. They are armed with Kalibr-NK strike missile systems, Shtil-1 and Palash antiaircraft missile complexes, A-190 100mm artillery guns, torpedoes and antisubmarine warfare armament.

Each ship is also capable of carrying a helicopter on its board.

 

Turkish troops ready to advance to Raqqa — Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before traveling to Pakistan, at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before traveling to Pakistan, at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul

© Kayhan Ozer/Pool Photo via AP

ANKARA, February 28. /TASS/. Turkey may launch an operation aimed at liberating Syria’s Raqqa from terrorists but only if understanding is reached with Russia and the international coalition, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday in Istanbul before departing for Pakistan.

“We are about to wrap up the discussion of the al-Bab operation. After that, we have Raqqa on the agenda, provided we come to understanding with Russia, the international coalition, the US. In this case, we will consider Raqqa and Manbij,” he said.

Erdogan also said that “in the current situation, Turkey places much importance on talks with Russia, which is a country close to Turkey, as well as on contacts with our strategic allies, the coalition and the US.” “Taking the present situation into account, cooperation with these countries in Syria is very important for us,” he added.

The Turkish president went on saying that he had discussed the situation in al-Bab and the progress of the Euphrates Shield operation with the country’s Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar. “The main thing that we discussed was concluding the operation in al-Bab. We also exchanged views on our contacts with the US and Russia on these matters and what prospects there are. But the fact that the al-Bab operation has almost concluded does not mean that the work (in Syria) is done,” Erdogan said.

He also stressed that “Turkey does not plan to remain in Syria” after the Euphrates Shield operation was over.

 

Russia to Help Boost Tajik-Afghan Border Protection Using Russian Base – Putin

 

 

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February 27 – Russian officials have repeatedly voiced concern over the security situation near Tajik and Turkmen borders.
Afghanistan had been facing instability for many years with the government troops fighting against the Islamist terror organization Taliban seeking to establish a strict Sharia law in the country. The turmoil results in the rise of other terrorist groups such as Daesh, outlawed in Russia.
“We are concerned over a rapid growth of drug trafficking, transnational crime and in this regard we agreed to intensify joint actions to protect the Tajik-Afghan border, including using the capabilities of the Russian military base in Tajikistan,” Putin said.
“The sides will continue coordination of efforts aimed at neutralizing security threats coming from the southern direction against the Commonwealth of Independent States,” the statement after Putin-Rahmon talks said.
According to the document, Putin and Rahmon agreed that the presence of Russia’s 201 military base in Tajikistan remains an important factor in ensuring regional security.
The two presidents also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the necessity to continue cooperation in the military and technical sphere in order to cope with challenges and threats posed to regional security.
The Russian military base in Tajikistan houses the largest ground force of the Russian Armed Forces outside the country. The agreement on establishment of the base, created by reorganizing the 201st division, expires in 2042.
In 2016, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said it was necessary to bolster security on their countries’ shared border.

Yemeni Commander: Jordan’s Fighter Jet Downed through Special Intelligence Operations

Yemeni Commander: Jordan's Fighter Jet Downed through Special Intelligence Operations

    (FNA)- A senior commander of Yemen’s revolutionary committees disclosed that the downing of Jordan’s F16 fighter jet on Saturday was the result of a sophisticated intelligence operation near the borders with Saudi Arabia.

“The special intelligence operation to down the Jordanian fighter jet was conducted in coordination with the Yemeni army air force and ground defense units stationed along Yemen’s common borders with Saudi Arabia overlooking the Najran region,” Mohammad al-Shami told FNA on Sunday.

He said the Jordanian warplane was eventually downed by Yemen’s air defense unit, and warned, “The Saudi coalition should wait for more such operations in Southern Yemen.”

Informed military sources disclosed on Saturday that the Yemeni army and popular forces shot down a Saudi-led coalition fighter jet in the Kingdom’s province of Najran.

“An F16 fighter jet of the Saudi-led Jordanian air force was downed by the Yemeni forces’ air defense system in Najran province in Southwestern Saudi Arabia on Friday,” the Arabic-language Sabanet news agency quoted a Yemeni military source as saying.

The source did not provide any further detail about the downing of Jordan’s F16 fighter jet.

The news came as the Saudi-led command center had claimed that one of the coalition’s warplanes had crashed due to technical fault.

Jordan is a member-state of the Saudi-led coalition which are taking part in the war on the Yemeni people.