• Thursday, Oct 01, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:57 am

Air strikes, clashes hit Yemen's Hodeidah despite ceasefire

  • Published at 05:51 pm December 16th, 2018
Yemen Air Strikes
A man walks near his house destroyed in an air strike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Faj Attan village, Sanaa, Yemen December 13, 2018 Reuters

The fighting comes days after UN-backed ceasefire came into effect, part of a hard-won accord struck in Sweden between the two sides

Clashes shook Yemen's flashpoint city of Hodeidah Sunday after air strikes and deadly fighting on the outskirts overnight, residents said, despite UN-brokered ceasefire between pro-government forces and rebels.

The warring parties exchanged accusations of violating the ceasefire accord that took effect on Friday but which quickly came under pressure.

A resident of the city reached by telephone said that the clashes were "fierce" and the sounds of jets could be heard throughout the night until about 0200 GMT on Sunday.

Another resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also reported ongoing fighting in the city, home to a vital Red Sea port.

"There are sounds of jets and air strikes, but we don't know what they are targeting," he told AFP by telephone.

Fighters killed

At least 29 fighters, including 22 Houthi rebels and seven pro-government troops, were killed on Saturday night in clashes and air strikes in Hodeidah province, a pro-government military source told AFP. 

No other sources could confirm the death toll.

The pro-government source added that seven rebels were captured during a Houthi attack on Al-Durayhimi district, which lies about 20 kilometres south of Hodeidah city.

According to the insurgents' Al-Masirah television on Sunday, there were ongoing clashes and air strikes in the city and its outskirts.

The fighting comes days after UN-backed ceasefire came into effect, part of a hard-won accord struck in Sweden between the two sides.

The truce between Yemeni government forces, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and the Houthi rebels was due to be followed by the withdrawal of fighters from Hodeidah within days on both sides.

In comments published Saturday on the rebel-run Saba news agency, the Houthis accused pro-government forces of shelling residential neighbourhoods in Hodeidah city.

Thursday's ceasefire accord has been seen as the most significant step towards ending the devastating conflict in Yemen, where more than 14 million people are on the brink of famine.

'Peace is possible'

The United States commended on Sunday the two sides that took part in the Sweden negotiations for "making progress on key initiatives", calling for a de-escalation of tensions.

"Moving forward, all must continue to engage, de-escalate tensions, and cease ongoing hostilities," the US embassy in Riyadh tweeted, echoing remarks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday.

"This is the best way to give these and future consultations a chance to succeed.

"The work ahead will not be easy. Peace is possible. The end of these consultations can be the beginning of a new chapter for Yemen."

A prisoner swap involving some 15,000 detainees is planned and a "mutual understanding" has been reached to facilitate aid deliveries to Yemen's third city Taiz -- under control of loyalists but besieged by rebels.

The two sides also agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define the framework for negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.

Monitoring mechanism

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths called for the urgent creation of a strong monitoring mechanism in Yemen.

"A robust and competent monitoring regime is not just essential. It is also urgently needed," Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Friday.

He added that "allowing the UN the lead role in the ports is the vital first step".

Diplomats said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres may propose a surveillance mechanism comprising 30 to 40 observers.

Some countries could send observers on a reconnaissance mission before the formal adoption of a resolution, diplomats said. 

One diplomat suggested Canada and the Netherlands could field the observers.

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has for months been warning of a worsening situation in Yemen and says the UN is asking for $4 billion to help suffering Yemenis next year.

"Millions of Yemenis still desperately need assistance and protection," he said.

Impoverished Yemen has been mired in fighting between the Houthi rebels and troops loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi since 2014.

The war escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition stepped in on the government's side.

The conflict has since killed nearly 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. But some rights groups believe the actual toll to be far higher.


52
51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail