Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

UAE says delivering aid to Yemen's Hodeida

UAE says delivering aid to Yemen's Hodeida

Battlefield commanders say fighting intensified on Friday outside the airport of the vital Yemeni city of Hodeida, pitting thousands of pro-government Yemeni fighters backed by a Saudi-led coalition of mostly Emirati forces and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The UN Security Council on Thursday called for a key port in war-ravaged Yemen to be kept open to deliveries of vital food and humanitarian supplies after the Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive to seize Hodeida.

Yemen's Shiite rebels say they have foiled a naval attack by government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition off the Red Sea port of Hodeida.

The port is also a lucrative source of revenue for the Houthis, who have controlled most of northern Yemen since 2014.

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

But a successful operation would require capturing a city of 600,000 people without inflicting damage that would destroy the port.

At the same time, the United Nations says 22 million Yemenis need humanitarian aid and the number at risk of starvation could more than double to more than 18 million by year-end unless access improves.

State-run Saba news agency said the aim of Hadi's first public visit to the country in more than a year was to "supervise" the military operations in Hodeida province.

"Depriving the Houthis of their control of Hodeidah 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".

Adrian Galloway (USMC). However, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration is now considering a request from the UAE for deeper involvement in the attempt to retake Hodeidah from Houthi forces.

The Security Council discussed the Yemen situation in closed session on Thursday.

Ali al-Ahmed, the Emirati ambassador to Germany, told Reuters there were 60,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid ready on ships and trucks to move into the region once the fighting died down.

The Hudaida port is a vital lifeline that is crucial for the flow of food supplies into a country that is on the brink of starvation, as it serves the entry point for 70 percent of the country's imports.

"We believe the coalition operations can create the right dynamic under the Yemeni government leadership to advance the work of the U.N. Special envoy Martin Griffiths in support of his peace plan", UAE U.N. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh told reporters.

The military source also said the fired missiles hit the aggressors' positions precisely, killing and injuring dozens of the enemy forces.

The UN official further called on Yemen's warring camps "to meet their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and... respect worldwide humanitarian law". Over 14300 people, mostly civilians have lost their lives since then.

"They did not encourage us, but did not discourage us", the official said.

The Saudi-led coalition said this week that they began their assault on Hodeida on behalf of Mr Hadi's government. Hodeida is a crucial hub for humanitarian aid; two-thirds of the Yemeni population depends on food and goods flowing through the port.

Saudi Arabia began its military campaign in Yemen in March 2015.

In the face of worldwide concerns over the humanitarian situation, the UAE said on Friday that it would begin sending aid by air and sea to Hodeida, the state-run WAM news agency said.

The internal military conflict between the Iranian-backed Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government recently entered its fourth year, aggravating the suffering of Yemenis and deepening the world's worst humanitarian crisis in the country. The rebels have been raining ballistic missiles down on Saudi cities from across the border.

An administration official acknowledged that the coalition would like the get more involved militarily in the battle to free the port, but so far that has not happened.

Like this: