Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

39 fighters killed in Yemen

39 fighters killed in Yemen

The UN Security Council called for the port to be kept open after a meeting on Thursday to discuss the assault on Hodeidah.

The ongoing fighting between the two warring rivals with daily Saudi-led airstrikes plunged the most impoverished Arab country in the Middle East into more chaos and violence.

Hodeida is the main entry for food into a country already on the brink of starvation.

Previously, a Saudi military spokesman told the channel that forces were within six kilometers (four miles) of Hodeida's airport. 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.

Two local anti-Houthi Yemeni military officials confirmed the seizure.

A displaced man on the outskirts of Hodeidah in late 2017
A displaced man on the outskirts of Hodeidah in late 2017

The assault has sparked fears for the area's 600,000 residents, with aid and rights groups warning it could spell disaster across Yemen, a country already teetering on the brink of starvation.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, a number of Sanaa residents expressed joy towards advances made by pro-government forces, stressing that the liberation of Hodeidah, a coastal city and the restoration of its vital port to legitimate control is half way towards the liberation of coup-run Sanaa and other provinces under Houthi hegemony.

With battles raging at the southern side of Hodeida International Airport, the military of Yemen's exiled government said it had entirely seized the compound, and that engineers were working to clear mines from nearby areas just south of the city of some 600,000 people on the Red Sea.

A United Nations diplomatic source said five commercial vessels were offloading at the port.

The United States rejected a request from the UAE for intelligence, mine-sweeping and airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets for the Hudaida operation, a UAE official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, while noting congressional opposition.

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Recent days have witnessed violent clashes in and around Al-Hudaydah between government forces backed by a Saudi-led air coalition and the Houthis.

Mr Hadi fled the country that year after the Houthis tried to oust him from power, in part because he had neither a natural constituency in the deeply divided country nor loyalist fighters to protect him.

The official said that the Trump administration denied the requests within the past 24 hours as a UAE operation to wrest control of the port from Iranian-backed Shiite rebels got underway.

A small number of legislators on Capitol Hill have expressed skepticism about the current level of USA support for coalition forces. "To the contrary, we have allowed them safe passage to the north of the city if they want to drop their arms and leave".

But Khaled Alyemany told a group of United Nations reporters in NY on Thursday that the government thinks Houthi Shiite rebels who control Hodeida "might blow up the installations of the seaport".

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"We walked on foot with nothing but the clothes on our backs", she said of her and her extended family members, who walked some 10km.

Saudi Arabia began bombing Houthi rebels in support of the Yemeni government in March 2015.

Some 70 per cent of Yemen's food enters via the port, as well as the bulk of humanitarian aid and fuel supplies.

Prince Salman has been sharply criticised for the decision to embark on the war, which has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians, devastated the country's infrastructure, and led to one of the world's worst cholera outbreaks in 50 years.

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