An offensive of Saudi forces in Al-Jawf; Merkel met Haftar; Jordan closes borders

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on March 11 in last twelve hours from

Saudi-backed Yemen forces hit back at Houthi gains

The Saudi-backed forces fighting on behalf of exiled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi yesterday carried out a counter-offensive in the northern Al-Jawf province in an attempt to reverse recent gains made by the joint-forces of the Yemeni army and the Houthi movement.

Supported by Saudi air-power, Hadi’s troops have reportedly retaken the Khub and Sha’af districts and, in the process, opened a road linking the areas with the Islah-stronghold province of Marib.

Last week saw Houthi forces seize key areas of the province, including its capital, Al-Hazm city, ending five years under the control of Hadi’s fighters.

The province is said to be oil-rich and shares a border with Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the Houthi-Army forces will attempt to continue their advances onto neighbouring Marib which would effectively end Hadi’s – and therefore Saudi’s -efforts on the ground.

AP reported that the battles over the last two days have claimed the lives of at least 35 fighters from both sides and wounded dozens of others. Houthi sources claimed the Saudi-led coalition carried out at least 18 airstrikes on the recently captured areas in a bid to help the counter-offensive.

Germany’s Merkel meets Libyan military commander Haftar

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met renegade Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar in Berlin on Tuesday and reiterated the importance of finding a political solution for his war-torn country.

The meeting comes less than two months after an international conference was hosted in Berlin and touted at the time as a significant breakthrough in the years-long conflict.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Merkel stressed there can be no military solution to the conflict and so “a ceasefire and progress in the political process, in line with the decisions of the Berlin conference, are necessary”, her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement.

He did not detail Haftar’s response.

Leaders in the German capital on January 19 agreed to uphold a United Nations arms embargo and end military support for the country’s warring factions. The embargo has not been effective, however, and the Berlin meeting failed to make any real difference on the ground.

Jordan closes borders due to coronavirus

Jordan on Tuesday closed border crossings with Israel and the West Bank and its seaports to shipping from Egypt as well as barred overland passenger traffic from Iraq to protect the kingdom from coronavirus, Jordanian Health Minister Saad Jaber said on Monday.

The government has also banned travel to Lebanon and Syria and will bar entry to travelers from France, Germany, and Spain from Monday; Jaber told a news conference.

Jordan announced earlier this month that a man who had arrived on a flight from Italy had tested positive for coronavirus, the first case confirmed in the country. Jordanian authorities have not announced any new cases since.

Jaber said the moves approved by the Cabinet were part of emergency measures that also included reducing airline service to Egypt by half and only allowing travel in cases of emergency.

“These measures are aimed at minimizing the chances of the virus entering and its spread,” Jaber told reporters.


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Source: MEMO, YNet, AlJazeera