Alarm as battle rages in Yemen – Gulf Daily News
ADEN: Fighting between Yemen’s warring factions raged in southern and central parts of the country and air strikes hit Houthi militia forces in Aden yesterday, but there were no fresh moves towards dialogue.
Saudi Arabia says it is winding down its month-old bombing operation against the Iran-allied Houthis and forces loyal to Yemen’s former president. But Riyadh pounded targets with at least 20 air strikes across Yemen on Thursday and 10 more yesterday.
The civilian death toll from the fighting and air strikes since the bombing started on March 26 has reached an estimated 551 people, the UN said yesterday. Its children’s agency Unicef said at least 115 children were among the dead.
Washington and other Western countries backing the Saudi-led aerial campaign have grown increasingly worried about the humanitarian crisis on the ground and also about the risk of jihadist groups taking advantage of the chaos.
Islamic State, which has had little presence in Yemen, released late on Thursday a video it said showed members of the group in the country conducting military exercises.
Saudi Arabia has called a meeting with major UN aid agencies and others to discuss improving aid deliveries to Yemen. Violent clashes continued between the Houthis and local militias near the Khor Maksar district of Aden yesterday, residents said, as well as in Taiz and Al Dhala.
Heavy fighting in Marib province east of the Yemeni capital Sana’a killed 15 people, tribal sources there said, as the Houthi militia and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh tried to advance into the rugged Sirwah district.
Splitting the alliance between the Houthis and Saleh is seen as pivotal for the success of the Saudi-led coalition to push the militia back towards its northern heartland and
resume peace talks.
Meanwhile, the Organisation of Islamic Countries is planning to hold a special meeting, likely next month, in light of impending humanitarian crisis in Yemen.