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Arabic press review: Iraqi militia fighters want to back Houthis against Riyadh

Also: Deals brokered for Assad opponents to return home; Syrian refugees cross into Jordan; Casbah is top draw in Algiers
Shia Popular Mobilisation Forces celebrate on the outskirts of Kirkuk in October 2017 (Reuters)

Iraqi fighters back Houthis in Yemen

Iraqi fighters affiliated to Shia militia in Iraq are preparing to go to Yemen to ally themselves with the Houthis and fight against the Saudi-led coalition, according to al-Quds al-Arabi.

The announcement by Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, also known as the Martyrs of Sayyid Battalions, which are affiliated to the Popular Mobilisation Forces, was publicly welcomed by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Houthi forces.

Al-Quds al-Arabi reported that backing for the Houthis is strong among members of the forces, with many Shia fighters rallying in support and awaiting orders to be deployed.

An official source within the Popular Mobilisation Forces in Baghdad refused to confirm that a decision had been taken.

Deal to allow Assad opponents back to Syria

Lebanese allies of the Syrian government are trying to broker deals between the administration of President Bashar al-Assad and its opponents, according to Asharq al-Awsat.

The compromise deals would include Syrian and Russian guarantees that those involved would not be arrested, although they would still be subject to military service, the Saudi newspaper reported.

Opponents of the Assad government are in talks to return to Syria (AFP)

Many of the wanted individuals fled to Lebanon from Rif Dimashq between 2011 and 2013 and are thought to number in the hundreds.

The deal is reported to be negotiated between Zafer al-Nakhlawi, acting on behalf of those in Lebanon, and the office of Maher al-Assad, the brother of the Syrian leader.

Al-Nakhlawi told Asharq al-Awsat that settling the situation of the regime’s opponents "will encourage others who do not have security files preventing their return to go back home”.

Injured and sick cross into Jordan

Anders Pedersen, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jordan, has confirmed a decrease in the number of displaced Syrians on the Jordanian-Syrian border as Amman allows the wounded, the sick and those in need of medical care to cross into the country following a UN request, the al-Ghad newspaper has reported.

The UN has been negotiating for refugees to cross from Syria into Jordan (UN)

"There are currently about 150 to 200 people at the border point of Naseeb-Jaber, mostly men,” he added.

Pedersen said that the UN was unable to determine the overall number of displaced persons now in southern Syria but that there were still vulnerable people who needed help and that UN agencies needed permission to cross the border to assist them.

Tourists rock the casbah

Most overseas tourists coming to Algiers are doing so to visit the Casbah according to Noureddine Mansour, the city's director of tourism, el-Khabar newspaper has reported.

The casbah of Algiers is the city's most visited site (wiki/file)

Mansour said that the capital "will become a tourist destination par excellence in the future" thanks to recent improvements made to the city’s plan, which will now cover the period until 2035.

He added that the figure of 22,000 tourists visiting Algiers during the first six months of 2018 was likely an underestimate, as it excluded those who had obtained visas through consulates rather than tourism agencies.