Saudi-led air strikes continue as ceasefire ends in Yemen

Saudi-led air strikes targeting Yemen’s Houthi militias resume following the end of ceasefire about which the UN calls another five days extension

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Arab coalition led-by Saudi Arabia continued on Monday to strike the Iranian-backed Houthi forces in and around Aden after a five day of truce ended late on Sunday.

The United Nations called the parties to extend the truce five more days, a move that was warmly welcomed by the Houthis.

"We welcome the call by the UN envoy to Yemen ... regarding the extension of the truce and the need to deliver humanitarian aid to citizens," Yemen's Houthi-controlled state news agency SABA quoted Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman as saying.

Earlier on Sunday, Yemeni politicians gathered in Riyadh for a three day meeting to discuss prospective peace in Yemen to which the Houthis rejected to participate.

The UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, opened the meeting by calling on all parties to ensure that the fragile truce leads to violence since the Houthis did not attend to the peace talks.

Since last Tuesday, the parties have been holding a five days of humanitarian ceasefire with the auspices of the UN.

"I am hopeful (there will be an extension)," Ould Cheikh Ahmed told reporters on the sidelines of the Riyadh conference, to which Yemen’s internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who later fled to Saudi Arabia, also attended.

"All ‎my first contacts indicate that we have a chance, but I am really calling on all parties to extend this for a minimum of five days." Ahmed added.

The short-term armistice enabled the allowance of food deliveries, fuel and medical supplies to millions of Yemeni people who were badly affected from the conflicts.

Yemen has been suffering from an ongoing civil war since the deposition of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi through a military coup by the Houthis in February.

The Houthis and ex-army officials, who are loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was also forced to resign during the Arab spring, had started an offensive towards the capital Sanaa.

The Houthis later on progressed further into the south-western port city of Aden where the deposed president Hadi established an interim government before he fled to Saudi Arabia.

Soon after Hadi’s forsaken from Yemen, the Saudi-led operation, dubbed “Decisive Storm” started on March 26 and maintained throughout April.

The Arab coalition has leaned its involvement with the claim of “defending the legitimate government”  of the embattled President Hadi.

The operation has gained an international acceptance in the Western realm and among the Sunni Arab regional powers together with Turkey whereas Iran and Russia essentially objected such an intervention.

The Yemeni crisis further strained relations between Iran and the Arab Gulf states in which the US has taken side with the Saudi-led Arab coalition.

The aforementioned Saudi-led coalition accuses Iran of “irredentism” over Yemen through supporting the Houthi militias, hereby, spreading “aggressiveness” in the Gulf region.

The UN human rights office has so far released the figures of civilian killings during the Saudi-led air strikes as being 646, while 300,000 people are believed to have been displaced, according to the same stats.

Sending the ground forces into Yemen was a hotly-debated topic since the Saudi-led aerial operation did not halt the Houthis advancement towards the Gulf of Aden.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have been mulling over sending ground forces, but the US pushes the parties to come closer to a diplomatic solution to the issue as Russia and Iran essentially objected Arab move towards a ground military operation.  


TRTWorld and agencies