Official Silence as Damascus Returns to Normal After Night of Air Clashes

Syrians on a bridge crossing the Barada River in Marjeh Square in central Damascus on the morning of the Iranian drone attack on Israel (AFP)
Syrians on a bridge crossing the Barada River in Marjeh Square in central Damascus on the morning of the Iranian drone attack on Israel (AFP)
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Official Silence as Damascus Returns to Normal After Night of Air Clashes

Syrians on a bridge crossing the Barada River in Marjeh Square in central Damascus on the morning of the Iranian drone attack on Israel (AFP)
Syrians on a bridge crossing the Barada River in Marjeh Square in central Damascus on the morning of the Iranian drone attack on Israel (AFP)

Syrians had a tough night with explosions rocking the skies, especially in Damascus and the south, as Iran attacked Israel. Syrians waited for an official statement about the blasts, which locals said were caused by “air defenses intercepting enemy missiles.”

A UK-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that the explosions weren’t just from intercepting unknown projectiles, possibly Israeli.

“Some rockets came from southwest of Damascus towards Hezbollah areas, not just from Lebanon,” said Rami Abdulrahman, the Observatory’s director.

“They weren’t acknowledged publicly to avoid embarrassment for Damascus,” added Abdulrahman, clarifying that Israel didn't attack inside Syria but engaged in air defense to counter the Iranian threat on Israel.

Late Saturday into Sunday, powerful explosions rocked Damascus and its outskirts, especially around the Sayyida Zainab area and Damascus International Airport.

Similar blasts were heard in Daraa, Suwayda, Quneitra (south), western rural Homs, and Jableh on the Syrian coast.

Unofficial Syrian media reported “aerial clashes in Syrian skies between Syrian air defenses and Israeli missiles.”

Pro-government daily “Al-Watan” aired videos titled: “Syrian air defenses stand firm against Israeli missiles.”

On the flip side, media reports suggest that the sounds heard in Syrian skies were caused by Israel intercepting Iranian drones.

The “Voice of the Capital” website clarified that there was “no Israeli attack on military sites in Damascus and its outskirts,” attributing the explosions to “Israeli defenses intercepting Iranian drones and missiles before they reached the Golan Heights.”

As of now, there’s been no official statement about the Iranian attack on Israel and the events in Syrian airspace. Syrian coverage mainly relied on Iranian media reports.

Sunday evening saw Syria’s Foreign Ministry releasing a statement expressing support for Iran.

The ministry affirmed Iran’s right to self-defense and condemned Israeli aggression on Iranian diplomatic premises in Damascus, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

Life in Damascus appeared normal on Sunday morning after a night filled with the circulation of numerous images and videos purportedly showing Syrian air defenses intercepting Israeli missiles in the Syrian sky.

According to the “Voice of the Capital” website, air traffic resumed at Damascus International Airport after a brief halt due to the Iranian attack on Israel.



Yemen’s Central Bank Tightens Grip on Foreign Transfers

Yemen’s Central Bank. (Government media)
Yemen’s Central Bank. (Government media)
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Yemen’s Central Bank Tightens Grip on Foreign Transfers

Yemen’s Central Bank. (Government media)
Yemen’s Central Bank. (Government media)

Yemen’s Central Bank, based in Aden, the interim capital, has tightened its grip on foreign money transfers, requiring all transactions to go through approved banks and exchange companies.

Banks and exchange companies must operate mainly from Aden and grant local entities permission to handle transactions. Moreover, they must deliver remittances in the received currency without converting unless the client requests otherwise.

This step aims to better regulate financial flows amidst Yemen’s challenging economic situation.

The decision strengthens the Central Bank’s control in Aden by requiring all banks and exchange companies in Houthi-held areas to get approval before conducting transactions.

It also ensures that transfers are made in the original currency, unlike what the Houthis are doing now, withholding transfers in US dollars. This comes just two days before the deadline for banks to move their main offices from Houthi-controlled Sanaa to the interim capital.

According to Yemeni financial expert Wahid Al-Fudai, the Central Bank’s decision aims to regulate international money transfers through remittance companies and tighten control over them.

Al-Fudai sees this decision as part of the bank’s efforts to regulate banks and exchange companies according to local laws, serving the public interest, and keeping up with global trends.

He explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Central Bank had previously issued instructions regarding financial networks, emphasizing the need for its oversight over external transfers.

He stressed that only qualified and licensed institutions are allowed to conduct these transfers, meeting all requirements for compliance with international standards, especially in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

Al-Fudai highlighted the importance of this step, especially with the Iran-backed Houthi militias now labeled as a terrorist organization by the United States and Australia, which could lead to further complications requiring the Central Bank’s attention.