• Saudi-led coalition assault on Yemen port would be disaster - aid agencies | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

    • Senior aid officials fear bloodbath that closes down lifeline
    • Coalition forces about 20 kms from main port city of Hodeidah
    • “We cannot have war in Hodeidah”, Jan Egeland says

    By Stephanie Nebehay
    GENEVA, June 1 (Reuters) - As forces of the Saudi-led military coalition close in on the main Yemeni port city of #Hodeidah, aid agencies fear a major battle that will also shut down a vital lifeline for millions of hungry civilians.

    Senior aid officials urged Western powers providing arms and intelligence to the coalition to push the mostly Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab allies to reconvene U.N. talks with the Iran-allied Houthi movement to avoid a bloodbath and end the three-year war.

    A coalition spokesman said on Tuesday that forces backed by the coalition were 20 kms (12 miles) from the Houthi-held city of Hodeidah, but did not specify whether there were plans for an assault to seize the Red Sea port, long a key target.

    The coalition ground forces are now at the doorstep of this heavily-fortified, heavily-mined port city,” Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, told Reuters. “Thousands of civilians are fleeing from the outskirts of Hodeidah which is now a battle zone.

    We cannot have war in Hodeidah, it would be like war in Rotterdam or Antwerp, these are comparable cities in Europe.

    Troops from the United Arab Emirates and Yemeni government are believed to lead coalition forces massing south of the city of 400,000, another aid official said, declining to be named.

    Last week U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock urged the Saudi-led coalition that controls Yemen’s ports to expedite food and fuel imports. He warned that a further 10 million Yemenis could face starvation by year-end in addition to 8.4 million already severely short of food in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

    • Suite logique (!) de

      Saudi-led coalition closes in on Yemen port city Hodeidah | Reuters

      Forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition are closing in on Yemen’s Houthi-held port city Hodeidah, a coalition spokesman said, but did not specify whether there were plans for an assault to seize the western port, long a key target in the war.

      Hodeidah is 20 km (12.43 miles) away and operations are continuing,” spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said at a press briefing in the Saudi capital Riyadh late on Monday, detailing gains made against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

      The Western-backed military alliance last year announced plans to move on Hodeidah, but backed off amid international pressure, with the United Nations warning that any attack on the country’s largest port would have a “catastrophic” impact.

      The renewed push towards Hodeidah comes amid increased tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are locked in a three-year-old proxy war in Yemen that has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced three million and pushed the impoverished country to the verge of starvation.

      Yemeni officials told Reuters earlier this month that troops were advancing on Hodeidah province but did not plan to launch an assault on densely populated areas nearby.

      Coalition-backed troops have now reached al-Durayhmi, a rural area some 18 km from Hodeidah port, residents and the spokesperson for one military unit told Reuters on Monday.

    • Ça se rapproche encore, par le sud, cette fois-ci

      Fighting rages near Yemen’s Hodeidah airport

      As joint forces of the Arab coalition rapidly moved closer to Hodeidah, fighting in areas six kilometers away from the city’s airport intensified on Wednesday, military sources said.
      Yemen’s army said units from the “rapid intervention forces” were currently positioned in Al-Durayhmi and were ready to enter the strategic port city of Hodeidah from the south.

      Yemeni army spokesman Abdo Abdullah Majali told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday that the rapid intervention forces are trained to fight inside small neighborhoods and hunt down Houthi militias hiding in fortified buildings. He added that they would work to clear these buildings in preparation for the army’s entry into Hodeidah and its liberation while ensuring that residents remained safe.

      Majali added that the liberation of Hodeidah would help the army to advance on several other Yemeni cities because of its strategic position as a port city and its proximity to Taiz, Ibb, Al-Mahwit, Dhamar, and Hajjah.

      At least 53 rebels died in fighting in Hodeidah on Wednesday while seven pro-government fighters were killed and 14 wounded, according to medical sources.

      A military source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthi militias experienced heavy losses on fronts in the province of Saada as a result of confusion and panic.