UN agency urges open access for aid to Yemen

04 November, 2018, 16:02 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Women artists at work during the Misk Art festival in Riyadh

Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki had said in a statement Friday that the Yemeni airbase targeted had been used by the Houthis to "launch drone and ballistic missile attacks".

The clashes erupted just hours after the government said Thursday it was ready to restart peace talks with the Iran-backed Huthis.

The Saudi Royal Air Force intercepted a missile over Najran on Friday, fired by the Houthi militia, according to the Arab coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen.

In particular fighting has brokenout in regions surrounding the largest hospital in the port city of Hodeidah, which has made it hard to access those most in need, including children.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The fresh military escalation came ahead of a new UN-proposed round of peace talks.

Yemen has been at war since March 2015 when Houthi rebels occupied northern regions and forced the government into exile.

Hodeidah is the only port held by the Houthis and serves as the entry point for the bulk of Yemen's commercial imports and aid supplies.


Following the collapse of the talks, which would have been the first of their kind in almost two years, the coalition announced it was relaunching an assault on Houthi-held Hodeidah, a strategically important Red Sea port city.

They said forces backed by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition have been trying to retake the port city of Hodeida, the main entry point for food in a country teetering on the brink of starvation.

The development comes a day after the Yemeni government said it welcomed "all efforts to restore peace" following calls by key U.S. officials and the UN's envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths for warring parties to come to the table "within a month".

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told several reporters Friday that Moscow has "been advocating for the early, immediate cessation of hostilities wherever - in and around Hodeida, elsewhere, because we believe in a political solution".

Washington, a close Saudi ally, supports coalition forces by refuelling their jets and selling them weapons.

Almost 10,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the World Health Organisation.

Other rights groups estimate the toll could be five times higher.

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