Saudi-led coalition fails to make advance in Hodeida

YUSUF SELMAN İNANÇ @yusufsinanc
Istanbul
Published

Since the beginning of a major operation under the leadership of Saudi Arabia in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthi militias, there is no remarkable advance as the battle has turned into a fruitless stalemate. Instead, Hodeida, the port city, which witnesses the clashes, has been isolated as a result of which the humanitarian situation has worsened.The Gulf media publishes new articles, claiming that the coalition forces and the Yemeni troops, loyal to the central government are making advances in certain areas. However, the battles never stop. Therefore capturing a village or an area does not mean that eventual control has been established. The Saudi-led alliance has been claiming that its aim was to capture the city's surrounding areas and forcing the militants to surrender. Otherwise, millions of people may face food and other material shortages as the city poses great significance in terms of accommodating a port through which aid materials are delivered. According to recent data, provided by the U.N. already more than 8 million people are at the verge of starvation. Additionally, there is limited opportunity to access clean water across the country.

The current situation demonstrates that the coalition is unable to meet its aims and schedule. It is well known that the militias are better atguerrilla fights and used to battle in city streets. They previously captured the capital Sanaa after long and deadly street battles. Moreover, people ask for stability and know that if the clashes include the center and cut the line with the port, there will be more difficulties in terms of supplying basic needs.

Houthi rebels have controlled Hodeida since 2015. The town used to be the center of sea trade, located on a strategic, historic trade route. Aid is delivered via the port. Thus, rights groups and the United Nations are afraid that aid deliveries will be cut totally, while hundreds of thousands of people are trapped inside. Even before the war broke out, food and other basic needs were supplied through the port. Since negotiations to find a diplomatic solution partially continue, the U.N. says at least 250,000 people are under immediate threat. Also, Saudi Arabia and its allies believe that before making a major advance on the ground, negotiations will not work, as they will not be holding the means for leverage and bargaining.It is feared that the operation will worsen the humanitarian situation. According to the U.N., 22 million of 28 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, while 8 million are unable to access food and clean water. Either coalition forces or rebels block aid deliveries. Civilians frequently die during clashes and aerial strikes. Besides the killing of civilians, the Yemeni people face other critical problems such as a lack of access to clean water, electricity, food and so forth. In some besieged areas, children can be seen starving to death.

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