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tv   News  Al Jazeera  April 16, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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the new vice president of yemen tells the houthi rebels to end their offensive. ♪ david foster with you here on al jazeera live from london. good to have your company. another 40 migrants drown in the mediterranean, we talk to a woman putting to sea her own boat to save lives. activists say the war in syria has now killed more than 220,000 people. and for almost four hours,
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russia's president faces the public and his annual tv phone-in. ♪ yemen's vice president says the houthis should end their offensive in aden. he called it a goodwill gesture that he believed would open the door to peace initiatives. and called on army units to support the government in exsill instead of supporting the houthi rebels. and the u.n. envoy has resigned. and fighting has broken out in ta'izz. the houthis are battling an army brigade and tribesmen.
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the president's priority he says is to deal with the urgent humanitarian situation. >> translator: the international community and the region have to intervene urgently in order to pave the way for the citizens to live in a suitable manner and in order to put an end to the crisis so it doesn't become a satisfy. we need to stress that the utmost priority of the government is to deal with the situation in yemen without any discrimination discrimination. >> let's get the latest on the battle for yemen. ♪ >> reporter: on the offensive and pushing forward. fighters loyal to yemen's president hadi continue to make gains in the port city of aden. they manage to capture a tank used by houthis, destroy another, and reportedly killed at least ten fighters on wednesday. the gains made have also lead to
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the defection and surrender of 50 soldiers formally loyal to the deposed president saleh, an ally of the houthis. opponents to the houthis have also suffered losses. three of their fighters were killed in a battle nearer this airport as they managed to force their enemies to retreat. homes in an area of aden were destroyed. the saudi arabia-lead coalition continues to pound the houthis and their allies from the air. among their targets a metal factory allegedly used as a base reduced to rubble within seconds. al jazeera has been told a ground offensive is being considered. >> [ inaudible ] would be [ inaudible ] we find that we
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have a necessity to go to the next step of the [ inaudible ]. i think the ground possibility would be one of the options. >> reporter: it appears the houthis and saleh's forces are on the book foot. the ousted president has sent an envoy to gulf countries with an guarantee for his safety. he says saleh cannot be part of the solution. >> reporter: the plan yemen. now we are in the same boat. we should find the same end. >> reporter: even if a military victories appears eminent for hadi the political conflict within yemeni society remains. finding a solution to that will
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require consensus from all sides not victory by one. there will be more on the conflict of yemen a little bit later in this program when the saudi-lead coalition holds its daily briefing. ♪ there has been a big increase in government air strikes in syria in the last 36 hours. a human rights group say there have been more than 120 strikes in aleppo. the death toll as has emerged over the last four years of war. >> reporter: over 220,000 people killed in the past four years of fighting in syria, that staggering horrifying number being provided by the syrian observatory for human rights who say over 60,000 killed were civilian and over 11,000 killed
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were children. the syrian observatory for human rights also reporting that clashes have intensifyied especially in idlib province. idlib was taken over by rebels at the end of march. and since then there have been more air raids by the syrian regime. we are told that dozens of barrel bombs have been dropped in the area. tuesday human rights watch released a report in which they accused the syrian regime of using chemical warfare, using chlorine in barrel bombs that were developed in idlib over the last two weeks in march. the international
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organization for migrants say 40 people died while attempting to reach the coast of italy. 10,000 have been rescued since last friday. italy is now asking the european union for help. the e.u. commission says it is working on a plan. >> the european commission cannot do it alone. we are putting all of our energy into developing a new comprehensive approach. which we said we will be coming forward in may. but no we do not have a silver bullet that will make the situation go away like that. and no amount of finger pointing will change that. >> there is a private project that has been set up to try to rescue people from the med
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mediterranean. good to talk to you. let me try to describe a little bit of what you are doing. this is a 480 ton vessel that you and your husband have purchased. it has flight deck drones dingies that can try to find these poor soles adrift at sea. it's not a small operation. it's not inexpensive. why did you feel the need to it? >> because there are people that are dying at sea. if we compare the statistic of last year 2014 from january until march of '2014, only 40 people died. this year over 500. and in the last shipwreck, over 400 lost their lives. so we need to do something, and we are doing something. >> it's a huge sea, the mediterranean, how do you go
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about finding these people? how do you know where they might be? >> we work in collaboration of the coordination center and as well their vessel is out to sea. even try to mission is coordinating -- they are coordinating even trident mission, and all of the vessel out there. it's important this coordination because they direct us on the target on the boat thats that need to be rescued, but also we are reactive and proactive. we are reactive because we last year used drones to check the area and so helping coordination center giving them images of these ships -- these small vessel in distress. >> you are doing this for
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philanthropic reasons because you just feel you have the money and did something you would like to do. how many people do you think so far that you have been able to help? >> we helped 3,000 people last year, in 60 days out at sea. however, i don't do this with my husband, only philanthropic -- we are philanthropic, but i think as a citizen, we are responsible for these people. we have ethical and moral duty for -- to help them. and i wish that this year unfortunately the mission is not there anymore, and wish that the europe -- europe will soon start a new maritime mission out at sea. >> well we wish you the very best of luck. thank you. operating a private rescue service for the migrants.
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appreciate your time. thank you. okay. we are off to saudi arabia. the brigadier general giving his daily briefing on the saudi-lead coalitions operations in yemen. >> translator: -- the maritime has turned back to the legitimate government in yemen, and we welcome that. we consider that a since of responsibility from these commanders and work is continuing 24/7, and these units will help and the resistance -- popular resistance committees will help also. at the same time we need to tell the commanders who are still pro-houthis that -- and the -- president saleh, that it is not the right time for them. it's a chance for them to revise
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their situation and go back to the legitimate regime in yemen, and to project the civilians in yemen, because being pro-houthis will put them will put the units, will put their officers under the threat and under the area of bombardment. on the other hand we would like to send a message to the socials, and the non-commissioned officers and the officers who are under the legitimate now, we need to tell them all that they are -- they have to be fully aware that everything related to the ousted president is now broken and we can find individual initiatives from here or there, from these units, but what we are
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interested in even one soldier who decides to return back to the legitimate regime in yemen is good and we need to know that no need to achieve personal gains or achievements on the expense of the safety of the yemenis, you would also note that we now concentrate on the vehicles, the military vehicles on the camps of the houthis, on the weapons stored in big buildings there, and we need to know that also the houthis are trying to take petrol and oil derivatives and store them. that's why we need not the houthis to enjoy everything of their please. on the other hand the relief operations are ongoing, and the committee that has formed -- or
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that was formed for this purpose, are working with the commercial ships carrying food and goods to the yemeni airport during the next few days a lot of these ships will arrive at the yemeni airport in the big cities, and the popular resistance committees and the tribesmen will be responsible, and the pro-army will be also responsible for delivering or providing the citizens with these goods and commodities. at the same time they will facilitate the procedures of arriving to the airports and distributing the goods for the citizens and all that facilitate their lives and make their lives easier. the militia houthis now, as i said during the last two days are under the threat of the area
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of the coalition forces and war planes. the houthis, during the few last days show that they have lost concentration. they are trying to reorganize themselves and yesterday the coalition forces has carried out yesterday a big operation in one area. when we get confirmed information regarding the movement of some vehicles within the area and we coordinated with the popular resistance committees and the aerial forces -- air forces carried out a raid this morning against these -- these groupings, and the resistance also are working in a good way, and they will regain again these buildings that are captured by the houthis in the northern part the air forces of the coalition hit a
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lot of fuel stores in the saad area and a lot of fuel has been confiscated by the houthis and stored and our information said that they were planning an attack on the saudi border. so we hit these occasions in the north part of yemen, and we hit also some command points there. the work is going 24/7 in sa'dah also and in aden. there is more contact with resistance committees inside the city of aden in order to help us in detecting and determining the right places of the targets in order to prevent the houthi militias from continuing their hate and ground operations in
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the district of [ inaudible ] and around the aden airport. operations are ongoing, and we dropped a lot of goods and commodities, and ammunitions, and the -- to the elements of the resistance committees in the city of aden and this has, by the way a good sort of impact. these operations and the follow-up operations will continue. we need to stress now that in all sectors of the republic of yemen, the houthi militias now are in the defensive, and they have some personal ambitions, but we need to control this. they are trying to take care of the gains they have already obtained but we are continuing our operations and we will prevent them at all from turning -- from the defensive attitude to the offensive
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attitude and we will target the locations and their positions in coordination with the resistance committees in order to help also the resistance committees to start attacking the houthis, and yesterday, the tribes and the -- the resistance committees have received more weapons and ammunition and they express their love to the yemeni people and to yemen as a nation and we appreciate these committees and we urge all -- everyone else to follow the steps of the resistance committees in order to put annen to the houthis after their operations. regarding the operations within the city of sana'a i can say that the houthi militias in
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sana'a are moving continuously from sana'a to outside sana'a from inside to outside the city of sana'a. they move equipment and they move vehicles which means that the houthis want to move towards the north. they are trying to move the weapons seized from the yemeni army to another part of the city, and aerial bombardment of the coalition will be continuing, will be going on and we have hit so many of their [ inaudible ]. we have hit yesterday scud missiles. we have destroyed these missiles, and we have destroyed also the launchers, and within now the city of sana'a there is a follow-up for the movement of these vehicles and military
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vehicles in order to limit such movements and to put an end to such movements. you see in the videos these things and we expect less attitudes like this during the coming few days and the relief operations will be more effective because the houthis militias are trying to make the movement of the red cross and of the rescue teams more difficult. regarding the operations of yesterday, we concentrate, as i said to target the military vehicles left by the yemeni officers. the pro-houthi yemeni officers. this is 1 of the roads, and we
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have target these vehicles and this spot in order to hinder the movement of the houthi militias and in addition also with the -- to the work of the resistance committees. this was a fuel storage that was hit yesterday. because the houthis have stored a lot of petrol seized during the past few areas, and that's why we hit in order to prevent them from the use of this petrol and the oil derivatives. and never give them a chance to make use of what they have stored. this is not a strange thing, because the houthis are trying to achieve personal gains on the
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expense of the yemeni citizens. we all know that there is a lack of petrol and food and so many things in these cities because of the acts of the houthi militias and we're trying our best so as not to pave the way for them to continue their actings. we will never give the houthi militias a safe haven in any part of yemen whether now for in the future. the military equipment is also a target for the coalition forces. this will continue until we feel that the houthi militias are not able at all to launch any operations.
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of course as you know having these vehicles and -- and these places stress the point that we are trying to explain that the houthis now suffer a lack of communication, suffer a lack of coordination. the houthis have no other alternatives now. they are doing a sort of a sporadic attacks here and there, but in the next few days the resistance committees will be able to be in control and to dominate the areas and the cities, because the houthis will never be able to do what they used to do before at the beginning. the militias of the houthis in
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the -- they are trying to create certain skirmishes like firing in the air, or doing individual acts but the -- our guards are trying to put an end to this. artillery are hitting them and we haven't seen any big things during the last 24 hours on the borders of saudi arabia. we have said that we tried to hit deep in sa'dah and around sa'dah, and the houthis will never be able to again to organize themselves and work in a big scale near the saudi borders. the maritime production we now concentrate on inspecting the commercial ships to make sure they are abiding by the banned regulations, and we need to
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support this in order to provide the yemeni citizens with the food and other commodities they are in need of. thank you very much for listening, and any questions i'm ready for them now. during the first few hours of the decisive storm, the gulf statement said there's a need to deter the houthis and al-qaeda, and isil. have you targeted locations for al-qaeda in yemen during the last few days? because we haven't mentioned things related to al-qaeda during the last few days. by dear brother the objectives of the decisive storm were clear. we didn't say that we are going to hit this or that. we all know that there is an
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international coalition against isil in iraq and syria and saudi arabia, but when it comes to decisive storm, let me say that our goals are determined to support the legitimacy of president hadi the yemeni president, support the efforts in order to bring stability to yemen, prevent the houthis from hurting the yemeni citizens or hurting the neighboring countries. these are the goals of the decisive storm, and we have achieved them all, god willing. >> you are listening to michael stevens from -- i beg your pardon from middle east studies from the think tank the royal united services institute. you were interested in that last question, weren't you?
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>> yeah. >> because they brought up the question of al-qaeda and the feeling is while this battle between the houthis and the coalition forces is going on they -- the other insurrents in yemen are able to do pretty much what they like. and they have taken over a port or an airport. and he seemed to say, listen our only interest is in looking after hadi's interest and not the rest of the country. >> indeed. has there been reports of al-qaeda being targeted by saudi aircraft? so far there haven't been. but it is particularly worrying because al-qaeda are making gains in the southeast and the coast. they are also pushing towards the traditional areas in the south where they have been a bit weaker. it is clear that even a week ago, the houthis and al-qaeda
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militias were fighting each other. they killed the heard of isil whatever you want to call it in some battles two weeks ago. so if you are going to target just the houthis than it stands to reason that al-qaeda and isil are going to strengthen. >> did you hear anything about the military base that al-qaeda were said to have taken over after a prison break? >> yes. they are in discussion with he local governor about handing this back. but, yes, they do still have control of the base. >> let me ask you about the air strikes themselves because this is what the general was talking about there. when we have had air assaults in iraq and afghanistan prior to a ground invasion. these have lasted in many cases no more than five or six days.
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the idea being that you take out the air defenses hurt the enemy on the ground and then your troops won't be in so much danger. 22 days in what do you think this says about the operation and the way it has been planned? >> i think they have tried to form a comprehensive political solution. they have obviously put a quarantine zone around yes, ma'am mren. however, i don't think anybody in riyadh expected this to be over any time soon. in the press they say they are winning, and it's going to be a great victory, but the houthis can move around very quickly. the americans are helping, but they are not doing all of the work. so you don't quite have the capacity that you do say when iraq in 2003 happened. so there will also be capability
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gapings. and i think that's what you are seeing. >> michael stevens thank you very much. we see there, our headline story is about syria. more on all of those conflicts at the syrian government steps up air strikes over two of the country's largest cities as doctors detail the use of chemical weapons on civilians. residential areas are now being targeted in aden as al-qaeda reportedly takes over a major airport in southern yemen. >> i was scared to death and didn't want to show it. >> chicago starts to make