Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Saudi-Led Coalition Seizes Entrance To Yemen's Houthi-Held Hodeidah Airport

Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition travel to their positions during an assault on the port city of Hodeidah. EPA Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition travel to their positions during an assault on the port city of Hodeidah. EPA
| 18 June, 2018, 15:35

On the same vein, the Joint Yemeni Resistance forces are combing pockets of the militia in liberated areas in Hodeidah and cleared mines and unexploded ordnance planted arbitrarily by the rebels in a bid to hamper progress of the resistance. The council also voiced deep concern about the risks to the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Three quarters of the population, or more than 22 million people, urgently require some form of humanitarian help, including 8.4 million people who struggle to find their next meal.

Coalition spokespeople said 18 air attacks were fired on the outskirts of Hudaida on Wednesday.

Ambassador Obaid Salem al-Zaabi made the comments during a news conference with journalists Thursday. "This comes from this seaport".

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi say the Houthis are a proxy force for Iran, their regional arch-rival.

In a report in January, the panel cited the fact that ships coming into the port face random inspections, require United Nations approval and that no weapons have been seized since March 2017.

Yemen's foreign minister says military operations by the Saudi-led coalition are not taking place near Yemen's critical port of Hodeida but in an area close to the airport.

"We do not provide any additional support to the Saudi coalition's military operations", Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine Galloway said.

Meanwhile, the Houthis have reportedly sent forces to Hodeidah from across Yemen to reinforce their lines. "No direct attacks have been reported within Hodeida city itself, despite the overhead presence of fighter jets".

Ahmed al-Kawkabani, a Yemeni who leads a force known as the Tohama Brigade, told the Associated Press that his forces are now positioned in Dawar al-Hodeida, Arabic for "Hodeida roundabout".

They struck some 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Hodeida, in a diversion from the frontline fighting around the city's disused airport.

Thursday marked the first full day of fighting in and around the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, At least 39 people were killed in the course of this fighting, and a limited amount of territory outside of the city fell to the invading pro-Saudi forces.

Nine pro-government troops were killed in the same area, the medics said.


Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, the president of the Security Council for June, said after the meeting that the Council members are deeply concerned about the humanitarian risks of the situation.

The United Nations has warned that the military operation could cripple deliveries of commercial goods and humanitarian aid to millions of people in Yemen who are on the brink of starvation.

"There is no substitute for Hodeida". "We hope for a rapid conclusion", she said, "but we are facing a small, fanatical group of fighters armed by Iran".

The U.N. Security Council has pressed for a diplomatic solution to end Yemen's three-year conflict with Shiite rebels, and has been working to relaunch negotiations with the Houthis to have them withdraw from the port.

The coalition's initial battle plan appears to involve a pincer movement.

Depriving the Houthis of their control of Hodeida port, at the Yemeni government's request, means that the Houthis will no longer be able to impose their will at the barrel of a gun.

Houthi supporters hold up rifles as they rally to protest the killing of Saleh al-Samad, a senior Houthi official, by a Saudi-led coalition air strike in Hodeidah, Yemen April 25, 2018.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the press.

The Emirati official said the request had been rejected within the last 24 hours, saying that while the United States did not give a reason for the rejection the official believed the request was denied because of congressional opposition over concerns about potential civilian casualties.

Hodeida, home of almost 700,000 people, is some 150 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Sanaa, Yemen's capital, which is under Houthi control.

The United Nations Security Council has called for keeping open the Yemeni port of Hudaydah amid a Saudi-led assault to capture it.

About 600,000 people live in and around Hudaida, and "as many as 250,000 people may lose everything - even their lives" in the assault, the United Nations has warned.

Iran has condemned the Saudi-led coalition's assault on the Yemeni port city of Hodeida, which is controlled by rebels aligned with Tehran.

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