@CITIZENTV

Saudi-led coalition halts Hodeidah assault as West presses for Yemen ceasefire

1 months ago, 16 Nov 00:01

By: Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition has ordered a halt in its offensive against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, three sources said on Thursday, in an apparent concession to Western pressure to end the war.

Key Western allies including the United States have been urgently calling for a ceasefire ahead of renewed U.N.-led peace efforts. The nearly four-year-old conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and caused a humanitarian disaster in an already impoverished Yemen.

“The coalition has instructed forces on the ground to halt fighting inside Hodeidah,” said one pro-coalition military source. A source in another military force backed by the coalition confirmed the order.

A third non-military source with knowledge of the decision said the coalition was responding to international requests for a ceasefire to ensure the Houthis attend planned peace talks.

Hodeidah has become a key target for the Sunni Muslim coalition, which has been trying to oust the Houthis since 2015 after they took control of the capital Sanaa and overthrew the government.

Western countries have been providing arms and intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition, but toughened their stance on Yemen after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul early last month.

The killing of Khashoggi sparked a global outcry and opened the kingdom to possible sanctions. It also prompted renewed scrutiny of the Saudi role in the conflict in Yemen, which is widely seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Iran.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki would not confirm the order to halt the offensive had been given, saying operations were ongoing in the Red Sea port city, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis suffering severe shortages of food and other basic goods and a key supply line for the Houthis.

The offensive, launched late last month, was the Sunni Muslim coalition’s second attempt to retake the city in order to cut the Houthis’ access to the port and force them to negotiate.

“Each operation has its own specifics and pace,” the coalition spokesman told Reuters, without providing details.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a Houthi leader and member of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, told Reuters it had still not seen an official announcement about a cessation of hostilities and that skirmishes continued in outer suburbs of Hodeidah.

Misery and Calm

Street battles in Hodeidah have abated over the last three days and the city was calm on Thursday, residents said. Coalition warplanes have conducted intermittent air strikes, mostly in the evening.

“We heard some sporadic (mortar) shelling this morning, but it is very calm,” said resident Arwa Mohammed. “People have started to leave their houses and go outside. We don’t want the fighting to resume as our situation is miserable.”

International aid groups have warned a full-scale assault on Hodeidah, which handles 80 percent of the impoverished country’s food imports and aid supplies, would risk triggering a famine.

Some 22 million Yemenis, out of a population of 29 million, rely on humanitarian aid, according to U.N. data. Almost 18 million are considered hungry and 8.4 million severely hungry.

The coalition abandoned its last attempt ...
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@CITIZENTV

Saudi-led coalition halts Hodeidah assault as West presses for Yemen ceasefire

1 months ago, 16 Nov 00:01

By: Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition has ordered a halt in its offensive against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, three sources said on Thursday, in an apparent concession to Western pressure to end the war.

Key Western allies including the United States have been urgently calling for a ceasefire ahead of renewed U.N.-led peace efforts. The nearly four-year-old conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and caused a humanitarian disaster in an already impoverished Yemen.

“The coalition has instructed forces on the ground to halt fighting inside Hodeidah,” said one pro-coalition military source. A source in another military force backed by the coalition confirmed the order.

A third non-military source with knowledge of the decision said the coalition was responding to international requests for a ceasefire to ensure the Houthis attend planned peace talks.

Hodeidah has become a key target for the Sunni Muslim coalition, which has been trying to oust the Houthis since 2015 after they took control of the capital Sanaa and overthrew the government.

Western countries have been providing arms and intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition, but toughened their stance on Yemen after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul early last month.

The killing of Khashoggi sparked a global outcry and opened the kingdom to possible sanctions. It also prompted renewed scrutiny of the Saudi role in the conflict in Yemen, which is widely seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Iran.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki would not confirm the order to halt the offensive had been given, saying operations were ongoing in the Red Sea port city, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis suffering severe shortages of food and other basic goods and a key supply line for the Houthis.

The offensive, launched late last month, was the Sunni Muslim coalition’s second attempt to retake the city in order to cut the Houthis’ access to the port and force them to negotiate.

“Each operation has its own specifics and pace,” the coalition spokesman told Reuters, without providing details.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a Houthi leader and member of the group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, told Reuters it had still not seen an official announcement about a cessation of hostilities and that skirmishes continued in outer suburbs of Hodeidah.

Misery and Calm

Street battles in Hodeidah have abated over the last three days and the city was calm on Thursday, residents said. Coalition warplanes have conducted intermittent air strikes, mostly in the evening.

“We heard some sporadic (mortar) shelling this morning, but it is very calm,” said resident Arwa Mohammed. “People have started to leave their houses and go outside. We don’t want the fighting to resume as our situation is miserable.”

International aid groups have warned a full-scale assault on Hodeidah, which handles 80 percent of the impoverished country’s food imports and aid supplies, would risk triggering a famine.

Some 22 million Yemenis, out of a population of 29 million, rely on humanitarian aid, according to U.N. data. Almost 18 million are considered hungry and 8.4 million severely hungry.

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