Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

UNSC to hold emergency session amid assault on Yemen's Hudaida

UNSC to hold emergency session amid assault on Yemen's Hudaida

Social media users shared video of what appeared to be a convoy of vehicles approaching the crucial port city early Wednesday morning.

The liberation of this lifeline port will act as culmination of the vital role played by the UAE Armed Forces.

In a statement made to Emirates News Agency (WAM), Colonel Sadiq Al Duwaid, Spokesman of the Yemeni National Resistance, said the joint resistance forces made a huge advance towards the city of Al Hodeidah, closing in 8 kilomteres within the city's airport and controlling the districts of Al Nekhailah and Al Taif, south of Hodeidah, amid major collapse in the Houthi militias ranks. Houthi rebels are a Zaydi Shiite religious minority who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and now control a significant amount of territory in western Yemen. She cast light on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen because of the Houthi control in Sanaa and Hodeida.

"We will not fight a street war with the Houthis in Hodeidah city, for the safety of civilians", he told al-Hadath TV. The city and surrounding area are home to 600,000 people, and the port is the main route for food and aid to reach most Yemenis, 8.4 million of whom are on the verge of starvation.

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The Security Council has strongly supported efforts by new United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths to resume political negotiations and avoid a military escalation of the three-year-long conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million, and created the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The coalition has blocked most ports, letting supplies into Hodeida in coordination with the UN The air campaign and fighting have disrupted other supply lines, causing an economic crisis that makes food too expensive for many to afford. In 2015, the ex-president had allied himself with the Houthis, but two years later shifted his allegiance to the Saudi-led forces, only to be killed by Houthi militiamen last December. Grande on Monday said while the United Nations had relocated worldwide staff from the city, numerous local staff had chosen to stay to try to continue United Nations programs.

Late Wednesday, the Saudi and Emirati governments announced what they called a "multi-faceted plan" to protect civilians in Hodeida, including establishing routes for food, medical supplies and oil shipments from Saudi Arabia's southern city of Jizan and the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the British government was in contact with the alliance about ensuring its operations comply with global law on protecting civilians.

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Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington Khaled bin Salman also on Tuesday said the retaking of Hodeida was critical, tweeting that the Iran-backed rebels posed a "growing threat" to maritime security.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday acknowledged the USA continues to provide support to the Saudi-led coalition.

"We have a ship offloading food even as shelling and bombing is happening".

The Houthis, drawn from a Shi'ite minority that ruled a thousand-year kingdom in Yemen until 1962, deny they are Iranian pawns.

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"The liberation of the port is the start of the fall of the Houthi militia and will secure marine shipping in Bab al-Mandab strait and cut off the hands of Iran, which has long drowned Yemen in weapons that shed precious Yemeni blood".

He added that the UAE and the Saudi-led coalition went ahead with the campaign despite knowing that global aid agencies fear it could lead to a humanitarian crisis.

From both Riyadh's and Washington's perspective, however, the rule of Yemen by any regime that is not a puppet of USA and Saudi interests is unacceptable and would weaken the anti-Iranian axis that United States imperialism has forged in the region.

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