Yemeni Government Accuses STC of Impeding Its Return to Aden

Cars drive on a road linking two neighborhoods of Aden, Yemen August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman/File Photo
Cars drive on a road linking two neighborhoods of Aden, Yemen August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman/File Photo
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Yemeni Government Accuses STC of Impeding Its Return to Aden

Cars drive on a road linking two neighborhoods of Aden, Yemen August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman/File Photo
Cars drive on a road linking two neighborhoods of Aden, Yemen August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman/File Photo

The Yemeni internationally recognized government held the Southern Transitional Council (STC) responsible for the delay in its return to the interim capital, Aden.

Pro-STC forces were deployed to impede the return of government officials to Aden, the government said in a statement, adding that the move indicates a lack of responsibility towards implementing the Riyadh Agreement.

The statement stressed that this behavior overlooks the difficult conditions lived by Yemenis who are suffering a lack of services since the events of August, noting that the suffering of Yemenis in Aden has been exacerbated by recent flash floods that drowned the city.

Published by the state-owned Saba news agency, the statement said that impeding the government’s return goes beyond thwarting efforts to implement the Riyadh Agreement and disrupting the work of state institutions.

According to the statement, it also worsens the catastrophe that struck Aden at a time the city needs all efforts to be joined in alleviating the suffering of citizens and working to repair public and private property destroyed by the floods.

"As the government issues this clarification to local and international public opinion, it holds the STC responsible for this reckless behavior and its consequences that effect Aden and the Yemeni people in general,” the statement said.

The government called on all Yemeni components to support the legitimate government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and to stear clear from pursuing personal interests and turning attention to the ethical, national and historical responsibility and to the interests and concerns of the Yemeni people.



Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake Strikes Gulf of Aden Region

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Aden region on Saturday. (USGS)
A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Aden region on Saturday. (USGS)
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Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake Strikes Gulf of Aden Region

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Aden region on Saturday. (USGS)
A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Aden region on Saturday. (USGS)

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Aden region on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said.

The earthquake struck at a depth of 10 km (6.21 miles), the USGS said.


Aboul Gheit: Saudi-Egyptian Consensus Leads to Fundamental Change in Arab Status

Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit
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Aboul Gheit: Saudi-Egyptian Consensus Leads to Fundamental Change in Arab Status

Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit

Secretary-General of the Arab League (AL), Ahmed Aboul Gheit, confirmed that an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, including the United Arab Emirates and some other Arab countries, especially in North Africa, “could lead to a fundamental change in the general Arab situation and the outside world.”

He added that the entente between Egypt and Gulf States during the years that followed Egypt's uprising in 2011, greatly influences the Arab arena.

“Arab countries are greatly aware today of the importance of joint Arab action to save the region,” Aboul Gheit affirmed.

The AL Secretary General told Egypt’s “eXtra News” channel that the major Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt were capable of stopping foreign interference in Arab affairs.

Aboul Gheit then commented on reports speaking about a new Arab system, saying they “lack realism.”

He rejected the calls of some to expand the Arab world and make it a “Middle Eastern” system that includes Iran, Türkiye, Ethiopia and Israel, describing such suggestions as “unreasonable.”

He then affirmed that the latest decisions of the Arab summit in Jeddah regarding Türkiye and Iran were less intense than before.

Commenting on the Sudanese issue, Aboul Gheit said that a year ago, he had predicted this clash to occur, noting that neither the Sudanese armed forces nor any armed forces in any Arab country can allow the presence of an armed militia on its soil.

On Syria’s response to the Arab role after Damascus regained its seat in the Arab League, Aboul Gheit said he expects the Syrian performance to be “calm and balanced.”

He then hoped that the Syrian delegation to the AL expresses no resentment against the League, which is a reflection of Arab will.

Aboul Gheit explained that in 2011 and 2012, some Arab countries took positions against foreign interference in Syria.

“Syria suffers from a difficult situation, and has not yet recovered since 2011,” he added.

At the international level, he said the situation is increasingly dangerous in light of the rising possibilities of confrontation between nuclear States, describing the confrontation taking place against the backdrop of the Russian-Ukrainian war as “a dangerous moment in the life of humanity.”

Aboul Gheit then expected the emergence of new international powers. He spoke about a "Eurasian" bloc, an alliance between Russia and China that extends from the Ukrainian border and reaches the Pacific Ocean or the eastern shore of China.

He said this bloc will face a stronger economic bloc, the “Western bloc” led by the European Union and the US.

“China is closely monitoring what is happening now in terms of developments, and is preparing for a possible confrontation in the coming years,” the AL Secretary General said.

 


Two Wounded in ‘Security Incident’ along Israel-Egypt Border

The Israeli and Egyptian flags are seen at a border crossing, (Reuters file photo)
The Israeli and Egyptian flags are seen at a border crossing, (Reuters file photo)
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Two Wounded in ‘Security Incident’ along Israel-Egypt Border

The Israeli and Egyptian flags are seen at a border crossing, (Reuters file photo)
The Israeli and Egyptian flags are seen at a border crossing, (Reuters file photo)

The Israeli military said it was exchanging fire near the southern border with Egypt on Saturday, shortly after it reported two casualties in a security incident in the area.

It was not immediately clear whether the incidents were related and with whom the military was trading fire.

Following the earlier event, spokesman for the Israeli military Daniel Hagari said "a security incident occurred in the area of the Paran Regional Brigade, in which two people were injured".

Israel's Army Radio reported that at least one gunman opened fire at Israeli forces close to the area around the Egypt border where two Israelis were shot earlier on Saturday while security forces were operating to thwart smuggling activity.

The latest condition of the casualties was unclear.


Israel Complains to UN about Hezbollah Maneuvers

Israeli soldiers leave after an operation near the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah October 22, 2013. (Reuters)
Israeli soldiers leave after an operation near the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah October 22, 2013. (Reuters)
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Israel Complains to UN about Hezbollah Maneuvers

Israeli soldiers leave after an operation near the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah October 22, 2013. (Reuters)
Israeli soldiers leave after an operation near the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah October 22, 2013. (Reuters)

Israel submitted an official complaint against Hezbollah to the UN Security Council regarding the recent military maneuvers conducted by the party .

Meanwhile, the Israeli Army launched an exceptionally large multifront military drill across the country to face any threat by Iran or its proxies in Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza Strip.

In the complaint also addressed to Secretary General Antonio Gueterres, the Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said on Thursday that 700 Hezbollah fighters participated in the Lebanese party’s maneuvers that used live ammunition and were openly held in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel.

“The maneuvers dealt with anti-Israel scenarios, including infiltration into Israeli territory and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers or citizens,” the Israeli diplomat said.

In the complaint, Erdan considered these maneuvers a flagrant violation of Security Council Resolutions 1701 and 1559.

Israel demands the Lebanese government to impose state sovereignty over its territory, and prevent Hezbollah from turning Lebanon into a terrorist base, he said.

The Israeli diplomat then called on the Security Council to strongly condemn Iran and Hezbollah for their role in destabilizing the region, and said that “Israel will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens and its sovereignty.”

On Monday, Israel began a multifront air, sea, land and cyber drill that includes simulated Israeli strikes inside Iran as well as a surprise Israeli attack on Hezbollah and its power centers.

CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael Kurilla, along with the Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, attended the first three days of the two-week long Israeli drill.

Israeli troops from the standing and reserve army, from nearly all units, would participate in the exercise — dubbed Firm Hand.

The forces will practice handling challenges and sudden events, simultaneously on multiple fronts including in Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

An Israeli Army spokesperson said the forces involve the Israel Air Force, Navy, ground force, and units active on the electromagnetic spectrum and in the cyber arena.

But he said the exercise will focus on the northern borders, led by Northern Command’s 91st “Galilee” Division, responsible for defending against Hezbollah from Lebanon, and the 36th Ga’ash (Golan) Armored Division, which is responsible for the Syrian border.

The first week of the drill tests these divisions’ ability to deal with attacks from the northern front, he said.

 


Lebanon's Berri to Asharq Al-Awsat: Paris Still Supports Franjieh’s Presidential Bid

Speaker Nabih Berri during the tallying of votes during a past presidential elections session. (AFP)
Speaker Nabih Berri during the tallying of votes during a past presidential elections session. (AFP)
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Lebanon's Berri to Asharq Al-Awsat: Paris Still Supports Franjieh’s Presidential Bid

Speaker Nabih Berri during the tallying of votes during a past presidential elections session. (AFP)
Speaker Nabih Berri during the tallying of votes during a past presidential elections session. (AFP)

Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said he has not yet “seen encouraging signs” that would prompt him to call for a presidential election session, given that as of yet, there are no two serious candidates for the post.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he again stressed that he will not call for elections before his condition for having serious candidates be met.

He noted that the nomination of former minister Jihad Azour has not been formalized and continues to be discussed between the opposition and Free Patriotic Movement.

Lebanon has been without a president since late October. Eleven elections sessions have been held, but no candidate garnered enough votes to be named winner given the disagreements between the political parties.

Berri said months ago that he would only call for an elections session if political parties are in consensus over the names of candidates.

Berri told Asharq Al-Awsat that “if we wanted a repeat of previous elections sessions, I would have called for elections every week.”

But given a lack of serious candidates “and out of respect for the legislature, which has become a laughingstock by many, I won’t,” he stressed.

Moreover, the speaker said he was satisfied with France’s stance on the elections, revealing that it still supports the nomination of Marada Movement leader former minister Suleiman Franjieh.

Paris is working on securing a regional and international understanding on his candidacy, he revealed.

Saudi Arabia, he continued, is not opposed to Franjieh. It is not vetoing anyone’s nomination.

The Kingdom has called for the election of a president and demanded that he present a reform program. Only then will it judge and so will other countries, added Berri.

The speaker often ignores the criticism of some politicians, but recent US remarks that it may impose sanctions on figures – believed to be the speaker - whom it believes are impeding the elections, prompted him to issue a statement to clarify some points.

Berri believes that failure to call parliament to elect a president is not a form of obstruction. Rather, the lack of seriousness in tackling the elections is the greatest hurdle, he said.

“I will call parliament to a session as soon as serious candidates are available,” he stated. This includes the speaker’s preferred candidate, Franjieh, whom he believes is the “best choice to end the crisis”. He added that he is not opposed to any other candidate, “even if they were a rival”, saying he doesn’t view any of the potential nominees as his opponents.

On Azour, Berri said he will call for an election session as soon as his candidacy is formalized. Moreover, he dismissed speculation that the former minister could garner 68 votes in the elections, noting that the FPM has yet to officially back his nomination.


UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees Raises Just $107 Million of $300 Million Needed to Help Millions

FILE - A bag of foodstuffs provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) lies in a cart as Palestinians collect food aid following a cease-fire reached after an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, in Gaza City, May 22, 2021.  (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - A bag of foodstuffs provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) lies in a cart as Palestinians collect food aid following a cease-fire reached after an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, in Gaza City, May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
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UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees Raises Just $107 Million of $300 Million Needed to Help Millions

FILE - A bag of foodstuffs provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) lies in a cart as Palestinians collect food aid following a cease-fire reached after an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, in Gaza City, May 22, 2021.  (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - A bag of foodstuffs provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) lies in a cart as Palestinians collect food aid following a cease-fire reached after an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, in Gaza City, May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Despite a dire warning from the UN chief that the UN agency for Palestinian refugees “is on the verge of financial collapse,” donors at a pledging conference on Friday provided just $107 million in new funds — significantly less than the $300 million it needs to keep helping millions of people.

Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the agency known as UNRWA, said he was grateful for the new pledges but they are below the funds needed to keep over 700 schools and 140 clinics open from September through December, The Associated Press said.

“We will continue to work tirelessly with our partners, including host countries — the refugees’ top supporters — to raise the funds needed,” he said in a statement.

At the beginning of the year, UNRWA appealed for $1.6 billion for its programs, operations and emergency response across Syria, Lebanon, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Jordan. That includes nearly $850 million for its core budget, which includes running schools and health clinics.

According to UNRWA, donors on Friday announced $812.3 million in pledges, but just $107.2 million were new contributions. The countries pledging new funds were not announced.

Lazzarini told a press conference Thursday that UNRWA needs $150 million to keep all services running until the end of the year, and an additional $50 million to start 2024 without liabilities. In addition, he said, the agency needs $75 million to keep the food pipeline in Gaza operating and about $30 million for its cash distribution program in Syria and Lebanon.

UNRWA was founded in the wake of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 to provide hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes with education, health care, social services and in some cases jobs. Today, their numbers — with descendants — have grown to some 5.9 million people, most in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, as well as neighboring countries in the Middle East.

UNRWA has faced a financial crisis for 10 years, but Lazzarini said the current crisis is “massive,” calling it “our main existential threat.”

“It is deepening, and our ability to muddle through is slowly but surely coming to an end,” he said. “The situation is even more critical now that some of our committed donors have indicated that the will substantially decrease their contribution to the agency.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a speech read by his chief of staff at the start of the pledging conference that “when UNRWA’s future hangs in the balance so do the lives of millions of Palestine refugees relying on essential services.”

Those services include education for over half a million girls and boys, health care for around 2 million people, job opportunities for young people in Gaza and elsewhere, psycho-social support for hundreds of thousands of children, and a social safety net for nearly half a million of the poorest Palestinians, he said. More than 1.2 million Palestinians also receive humanitarian assistance.


UN Calls for Immediate Cease-fire in Sudan and Path to Renewed Democratic Transition Talks

Sudanese army soldiers rest next to a building in Khartoum on May 25, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese army soldiers rest next to a building in Khartoum on May 25, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
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UN Calls for Immediate Cease-fire in Sudan and Path to Renewed Democratic Transition Talks

Sudanese army soldiers rest next to a building in Khartoum on May 25, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese army soldiers rest next to a building in Khartoum on May 25, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

The UN Security Council called Friday for an immediate cease-fire in Sudan to be followed by a permanent halt to hostilities and fresh efforts to reach a lasting democratic political settlement in the conflict-wracked country.

The UN’s most powerful body strongly condemned all attacks on civilians since fighting between rival generals vying for power broke out in mid-April and called for “rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Sudan” to help millions in need.

The fighting has killed at least 866 civilians and wounded thousands more, according to the Sudanese Doctors’ Syndicate which tracks civilian casualties. And more than 1.3 million people have fled their homes to try to escape the violence, with over a million still in the country and 320,000 in neighboring Egypt, South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.

The press statement from the council was issued before the council voted unanimously to extend the UN political mission in Sudan for six months, instead of a year, to give members time to see what happens on the ground and consider its future.

United Arab Emirates Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the current council president, called it “very positive” that all members not only voted to extend the UN mission but united behind a “very substantive” statement “that lays out the council’s expectations of what should happen next in Sudan -- and that is clearly an immediate and permanent cease-fire arrangement.”

The Security Council underlined the need “for strengthened international coordination and continued collaboration” and reaffirmed “their firm support for African leadership,” noting the African Union’s six-point roadmap to resolve the conflict as well as efforts by the Arab League and the regional group IGAD.

Gabon’s UN Ambassador Michel Biang told the council after the vote that the security situation in Sudan continues to worsen.

“The country is at a critical stage of its history with a heightened risk of civil war if the conflict continues,” he warned, speaking on behalf of the two other African members on the council, Ghana and Mozambique, as well. “And there is, if that occurs, a grave risk of serious consequences being visited upon all countries in the region.”

Biang stressed that the presence of the UN mission “is now more important than ever before to coordinate the UN’s response to the complex challenges plaguing the country.”

On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres asked to brief the council behind closed doors for only the fifth time since he took office in January 2017 about the impact of the ongoing conflict on the UN mission known as UNITAMS. It was established by the council on June 3, 2020, to provide support to Sudan during its political transition to democratic rule.

In a brief statement to reporters after the meeting, the UN chief said he told the 15 council members it’s up to them to decide whether to continue the political mission to Sudan or whether “it’s time to end it.”

Following the ouster of Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir in 2019, Sudan embarked on a shaky democratic transition led by civilian and army leaders. But the generals seized complete power in a coup in October 2021, before turning against each other.

Sudanese leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, agreed to restore the transition but clashed over the terms of the RSF’s merger into the army, a disagreement that exploded into open conflict on April 15.

A week ago, Burhan demanded in a letter to Guterres that the UN special envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes, be removed, saying his approach in pre-war talks between the generals helped inflame the conflict and accusing him of “being partisan.” The UN chief was “shocked” by the letter.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Guterres said he reaffirmed to the council “my full confidence in Volker Perthes.”


Lebanon’s Hezbollah Says Not Linked to Accused in Peacekeeper Killing

An Irish UN peacekeeper stands next to the coffin of his comrade Pvt. Sean Rooney, who was killed during a confrontation with residents near the southern town of Al-Aqbiya on Wednesday night, during a memorial service, at Beirut airport, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP)
An Irish UN peacekeeper stands next to the coffin of his comrade Pvt. Sean Rooney, who was killed during a confrontation with residents near the southern town of Al-Aqbiya on Wednesday night, during a memorial service, at Beirut airport, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP)
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Lebanon’s Hezbollah Says Not Linked to Accused in Peacekeeper Killing

An Irish UN peacekeeper stands next to the coffin of his comrade Pvt. Sean Rooney, who was killed during a confrontation with residents near the southern town of Al-Aqbiya on Wednesday night, during a memorial service, at Beirut airport, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP)
An Irish UN peacekeeper stands next to the coffin of his comrade Pvt. Sean Rooney, who was killed during a confrontation with residents near the southern town of Al-Aqbiya on Wednesday night, during a memorial service, at Beirut airport, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP)

Lebanon's Hezbollah on Friday denied that five men accused by a military tribunal of killing an Irish UN peacekeeper in 2022 were linked to the armed party.

A court document filed on Thursday had identified some of the five as members of Hezbollah and allied movement Amal, according to a senior Lebanese judicial source.

Hezbollah media official Mohammad Afif said the five accused were not members of the group, which controls the part of southern Lebanon where last year's attack took place, and also denied that the indictment had described them as Hezbollah members.

Private Sean Rooney, 23, was killed on Dec. 15 in the first fatal attack on UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeepers in Lebanon since 2015.

Afif said Hezbollah had played a big role after the killing in reducing tensions and in local people's cooperation with the army and judicial investigation.

His comments are the first by a Hezbollah official since Thursday's reported indictment. The Amal Movement, which is headed by parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri, has so far declined to comment.

The judicial source had said evidence was drawn from camera recordings in which the accused refer to themselves as members of Hezbollah. A second judicial source confirmed that camera evidence was mentioned in the 30-page court document.

Hezbollah has previously denied involvement in the killing, calling it an "unintentional incident" that took place solely between the town's residents and the peacekeepers.


Kurdish Autonomous Authority Evacuates Hundreds of Syrians from Sudan

Syrians stranded in Sudan arrive in the autonomous region in late May. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Syrians stranded in Sudan arrive in the autonomous region in late May. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Kurdish Autonomous Authority Evacuates Hundreds of Syrians from Sudan

Syrians stranded in Sudan arrive in the autonomous region in late May. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Syrians stranded in Sudan arrive in the autonomous region in late May. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) has evacuated 369 stranded Syrians from Sudan.

A prominent AANES official stressed that the Administration is committed to its humanitarian duties toward those stranded in Sudan.

Badran Jia Kurd, head of the Department of Foreign Relations in the Autonomous Administration, told Asharq Al-Awsat that as the war escalates in Sudan “the AANES continues through its official missions in Sudan’s neighboring countries to fulfill its responsible duty towards our stranded relatives in Sudan.”

Three flights carrying around 396 Syrians had arrived in the self-administration regions.

The official remarked that there were some obstacles, but they were overcome successfully, extending thanks to all the humanitarian international and Arab parties in helping operate the flights.

Kurdish authorities evacuated more than 150 individuals, including women and children, in the first week of May after the escalation of battles in Sudan.

Jia said the AANES evacuated 18 individuals, including three newborns, to Qamishli on the second flight in mid-May.

“The third trip a few days ago included 201 women and children, including 31 newborns and three corpses,” said Jia, adding that this last batch had flown in from the capital Damascus.

These efforts are part of the autonomous administration’s initiative that was launched in mid-April and aims at evacuating Syrian refugees who fled the fierce battles between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces.

Jia expressed the AANES’ deep concern over the situation in Sudan, hoping its people won’t have to endure the same suffering as the Syrian people.

Media reports had said that around 20 Syrians have died in the Sudan clashes that erupted in April.

The United Nations announced that over 730 people have been killed and 5,500 wounded.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources in Damascus told Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper on Thursday that so far 6,000 Syrians have been evacuated from Sudan.

The sources added that regular daily trips, transporting an average of 170 people, are taking place from Port Sudan to Damascus International Airport.

They went on to say that 2,000-3,000 Syrians remain in Port Sudan waiting to be evacuated in the coming days.


Sudanese Forces Clash in Khartoum 

Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)
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Sudanese Forces Clash in Khartoum 

Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)
Smoke rises above buildings after an aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023. (Reuters)

Sudan's warring parties clashed in the capital overnight and into Friday morning after talks aimed at maintaining a ceasefire and alleviating a humanitarian crisis collapsed, prompting the US to issue sanctions.

Residents of Khartoum and adjoining Omdurman said the army had resumed air strikes and was using more artillery as the clashes continued, but with no sign that its paramilitary enemy was retreating from city streets and homes it has occupied.

"We are suffering so much from this war. Since this morning there have been sounds of violence. We're living in terror. It is a real nightmare," said Shehab al-Din Abdalrahman, 31, in a southern district of the capital.

Seven weeks of warfare between the army and Rapid Support Forces have smashed up parts of central Khartoum, threatened to destabilize the wider region, displaced 1.2 million people inside Sudan and sent another 400,000 into neighboring states.

The US and Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended truce talks after a ceasefire they had mediated fell apart, accusing the sides of occupying homes, businesses and hospitals, carrying out air strikes and attacks and executing banned military movements.

Washington imposed sanctions on businesses belonging to the army and RSF and threatened further action "if the parties continue to destroy their country", according to a senior US official.

Sudan's ambassador to Washington, Mohamed Abdallah Idris, said the government and army remained fully committed to the truce pact and any penalties should be "imposed on the party that did not abide by what it signed" - a reference to the RSF.

The two sides have blamed each other for truce violations.

Since the overthrow of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019 Sudan's government has been headed by a sovereign council under army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan with the RSF head Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, as his deputy.

After they went to war on April 15 Burhan said he had dismissed Hemdti from the council, and government departments have remained aligned with the army.

Aid supplies looted

Outside Khartoum, the worst fighting has been in the Darfur region, where a civil war has simmered since 2003, killing around 300,000 people.

More than 100,000 people have fled militia attacks in West Darfur to neighboring Chad since the latest fighting began, and the numbers could double in the next three months, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday.

Truce efforts had been aimed at delivering humanitarian aid to civilians caught in a war that has brought deadly shellfire and shooting, disabled power and water networks, ruined hospitals and hampered food supplies in an already hungry nation.

The UN's World Food Program and its refugee agency UNHCR said continued looting was disrupting their efforts to help Sudanese, calling on all parties to respect humanitarian work.

The WFP said it had recorded losses of more than $60 million since the fighting began. The UNHCR said two of its offices in Khartoum were pillaged and its warehouse in El Obeid was targeted on Thursday.

With the ceasefire talks off, Khartoum residents are bracing for further problems.

"Since yesterday one telecom network has been down. Today another one is down. The power is out but the water has come back. It's like they're alternating forms of torture," said Omer Ibrahim, who lives in a district of Omdurman that has seen little fighting.