The United Arab Emirates says the "war is over" for its troops in Yemen, though it may continue to keep them there for "counterterrorism operations". Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi's crown prince, carried the announcement on his official Twitter account late on Wednesday. He was quoting Anwar Gargash, UAE's junior minister for foreign affairs, who had given a speech saying the "war is over for our troops". "Our standpoint today is clear: war is over for our troops; we're monitoring political arrangements, empowering Yemenis in liberated areas" An Arabic version of his comments was worded slightly differently than the English one, saying the war is "practically" over. The statement left open the likelihood that Emirati troops would remain in the Arabian Peninsula country, where they operate in the southern province of Hadramawt and the port city of Aden.
WASHINGTON – A drone likely connected to Iranian-supported militias fired on U.S.-backed troops near a military camp in southern Syria on Thursday, near where the U.S.-led coalition is training Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group, an American military spokesman said. The weapon fired by the drone did not detonate and no one was hurt, but Army Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters at the Pentagon that it was considered a direct threat and that a manned U.S. aircraft shot it down. The attack came just hours after the U.S. bombed Syrian government and allied troops inside a protected zone in that area, and marked a sharp escalation in the skirmishes between the coalition and those pro-Syrian government forces there. Dillon said this was the first time that forces supporting Damascus had attacked coalition troops in that region, which is near the training camp in Tanf, close to the border with Jordan. He declined to say who owned or operated the drone, but other officials said it was likely Iranian or Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
AIRBASE, IN NORTHEAST SYRIA - The commander of U.S.-backed forces in Syria called on Monday for about 1,000 to 1,500 international forces to remain in Syria to help fight Islamic State and expressed hope that the United States, in particular, would halt plans for a total pullout. The remarks by Mazloum Kobani, the commander-in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, followed talks with senior U.S. generals in Syria and offered perhaps the most comprehensive view to date of his requests for an enduring military assistance from the U.S.-led coalition. It also shows that Kobani is still holding out hope that U.S. President Donald Trump may soften his withdrawal order, which has been criticized by allies at home and abroad and which triggered the resignation of Trump's defense secretary. "We would like to have air cover, air support and a force on the ground to coordinate with us," Kobani told a small group of reporters who traveled with the U.S. military to the talks at an airbase at an undisclosed location in northeast Syria. With U.S. help, the Kurdish-led fighters are poised to seize Islamic State's last holdout in eastern Syria.
Officials from major political parties on Sunday debated whether Self-Defense Forces troops should take part in a U.S.-proposed coalition to safeguard strategic waters near the Strait of Hormuz amid reports the government is mulling such a move. Koichi Hagiuda, executive acting secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, stressed the need to consider a response to the proposal but said the current situation does not require the immediate dispatch of SDF troops to the Middle East. "We can't behave as if we are not an interested party," Hagiuda said during a TV appearance. "Cooperation with the international community is important. Some 80 percent of vessels transporting (oil) to Japan pass through the strait."