Heavy clashes erupted in southern Yemen yesterday while a Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes on the capital, Sanaa, leaving at least six dead, including four children, in the city's residential center, officials said.
The Sanaa airstrikes came after Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who control the capital, launched a drone attack earlier in the week on a critical oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia, Tehran's biggest rival in the region. The renewed air campaign on Sanaa, which had remained calm over the past months, also came as the Houthis are pushing to gain more territory from coalition-backed government forces in the country's southern Dhale governorate. Yemen's human rights minister, Mohammed Askar, told reports yesterday that weeks-long fighting in Dhale has killed over 27 civilians and displaced around 10,000 people.
Yemen has been devastated by a brutal civil war in which the Houthis, who have occupied the capital, Sanaa, and much of northern Yemen, are battling government troops, backed by a Saudi-led coalition. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the former Saudi defense minister and Saudi Arabia's allies launched Operation Decisive Storm in March 2015. In Yemen's civil war, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is part of the Saudi-led coalition battling Iranian-backed rebels known as Houthis, who have taken over most of northern Yemen. The UAE entered Yemen's war in March 2015 alongside Saudi Arabia to back Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the Houthis had pushed out of the capital, Sanaa. The UAE has largely handled ground operations in the conflict while the Saudis have carried out airstrikes.
Many atrocities have been reported so far, which reveals multiple violations of human rights. The coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE has been using weapons produced in Europe and the U.S. to kill and wound hundreds of civilians in Yemen. Saudi-led attacks have killed nearly 4,600 out of the 7,000 verified civilians who have died in the war, according to recent figures by the U.N. Human Rights Office. In September, the Saudi-led coalition admitted that mistakes were made in an August airstrike that killed 40 children, an event considered an apparent war crime by the U.N. human rights body. Saudi Arabia's alleged human rights violations are not limited to that country but have expanded beyond its borders, since there is an endless war in Yemen.