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2015 military intervention in Yemen
Part of the Yemeni Civil War (2015)
and the Yemeni Crisis
Yemen war detailed map.png
The situation in Yemen, as of 17 April 2015:
  Controlled by Houthis
  Controlled by Hadi loyalists
  Controlled by al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia
(See also a detailed map)
Date25 March 2015 – present (6 years and 6 months)
LocationYemen
Result Ongoing
Belligerents

 Gulf Cooperation Council[1][2]

 Sudan[5]
 Morocco[5]
 Egypt[5][6]
 Jordan[5]
Supported by:
 Pakistan[7]
 Somalia[8]
United States[9]
In support of:
Yemen Yemen (Hadi government)

Yemen Yemen (Revolutionary Committee)

Supported by:

 Iran (alleged)[10][11]
Commanders and leaders

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani
Saudi Arabia King Salman
United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud
Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi


Yemen Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi

Yemen Mohammed Ali al-Houthi  (WIA)
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi
Ali Abdullah Saleh

Ahmed Ali Saleh (son of Ali Abdullah Saleh)[12]
Strength
Saudi Arabia 100 warplanes and 150,000 soldiers (claim)[13]
United Arab Emirates 30 warplanes[14]
Bahrain 15 warplanes[14]
Kuwait 15 warplanes[14]
Qatar 10 warplanes[14]
Jordan 6 warplanes[14]
Morocco 6 warplanes[14]
Sudan 4 warplanes and 6,000 troops [15][16]
Egypt 4 warships[17] and an unknown number of warplanes[18]
100,000 Houthi fighters (claim)[19] and unknown number of Yemeni soldiers
Casualties and losses
Ground losses:
Saudi Arabia 10 soldiers killed,[20]
14 wounded[20][21][22]
Aerial losses:
Saudi Arabia 1 F-15S crashed (non-combat)[23]
According to military sources: 136 killed
[24][25][26][27][28]
311 civilians killed[29][30] (88 in Sana'a)[31]


Saudi Arabia, spearheading a coalition of nine Arab states, began carrying out airstrikes in neighbouring Yemen on 25 March 2015, heralding the start of a military intervention in Yemen, codenamed Operation Decisive Storm[14] (Arabic: عملية عاصفة الحزم). The intervention began in response to requests for assistance from the internationally recognized but domestically contested Yemeni government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The request was due to a Houthi offensive, allegedly funded by Iran, aimed at its provisional capital of Aden. President Hadi fled Aden,[32] left the country and went to Saudi Arabia as Saudi Arabia and its allies launched airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was deposed in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.[33]

Warplanes from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain are also taking part in the operation. In addition, Egypt and Sudan have said they will commit ground troops in Saudi Arabia. Somalia has made its airspace, territorial waters, and military bases available for the coalition to use.[8] The United States has provided intelligence and logistical support, including search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots,[9] and accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states.[34] Pakistan was also called on by Saudi Arabia to join the coalition, but its parliament voted to maintain neutrality.[35] Despite this, Pakistan agreed to provide warships to help the coalition enforce an arms embargo against the Houthis.[7]

150,000 people have been displaced by the fighting as of 17 April.[36] Many countries, such as China, Pakistan, Somalia,[37] and India[38] have evacuated or plan to evacuate foreign citizens.[39] Many groups have begun to flee Yemen for northern Somalia and Djibouti.[40] In addition, the attacks have claimed the lives of 200 civilians,[41] of which 88 were killed in Sana'a.[31]

Background[]

Ethnoreligious groups in 2002. Zaydi Shi'a followers make up between 35% and 42.1% of Muslims in Yemen.[42][43]

Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, running unopposed for president, won the 2012 Yemeni elections. One year later, in an effort to keep Hadi in power, the South Yemen insurgency boycotted UN-mediated attempts at drafting a new constitution and preparing presidential elections for February 2014.[44] The Houthis (or Ansar Allah), a Zaidi Shia movement and militant group thought to be backed by Iran, took control of the Yemeni government through a series of steps in 2014 and 2015, which Saudi Arabia and other countries denounced as an unconstitutional coup d'état.

In military operations on the ground, the Houthis have been supported by sections of the Yemeni armed forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was removed from power as part of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.[45][46] Houthi leaders have claimed[47] Saudi Arabia is trying to break the alliance between the Houthis and Saleh's supporters; there have also been reports[47] that Saleh's son had travelled to the Saudi capital to attempt to broker a deal to end the air strikes. Saudi media claim that Saleh or his supporters, namely his son, Ahmed Ali Saleh, have approached Riyadh seeking such a deal.[48]

By September 2014, Houthi fighters captured Sana'a, toppling Hadi's government. Soon after, a peace deal (known as the PNPA) was concluded between the Hadi government and the Houthis, but was not honored by either party. The PNPA was drafted with the intent of outlining a power-sharing agreement in the new government. A conflict over a draft constitution resulted in the Houthis consolidating control over the Yemeni capital in January 2015. After resigning his post alongside his prime minister, Hadi, the internationally recognized but domestically contested president, fled to Aden in southern Yemen on January 22.[49][50] By 25 March 2015, Hadi was in Aden, which he had declared the temporary capital, and forces answering to Sana'a were rapidly closing in on the port city.[51] However, on 24 February Hadi withdrew his resignation, saying that the actions of the Houthis from September 2015 had amounted to a "coup" against him.[52][53][54]

During the Houthis' southern offensive, Saudi Arabia began a military buildup on its border with Yemen.[55] In response, a Houthi commander boasted that his troops would counterattack against any Saudi aggression and would not stop until they had taken Riyadh, the Saudi capital.[56]

On 25 March, Hadi called on the UN Security Council to authorise “willing countries that wish to help Yemen to provide immediate support for the legitimate authority by all means and measures to protect Yemen and deter the Houthi aggression.”[57]

Yemen's foreign minister, Riad Yassin, requested military assistance from the Arab League on 25 March, amid reports that Hadi had fled his provisional capital.[58][59] On 26 March, Saudi state TV station Al-Ekhbariya TV reported that Hadi arrived at a Riyadh airbase and was met by Saudi Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud. His route from Aden to Riyadh was not immediately known.[60]

At a summit of the Arab League held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 28–29 March, President Hadi again repeated his calls for international intervention in the fighting in Yemen. A number of League members pledged their support to Hadi's government in Yemen during that meeting. [61][62]

Sunni-Shia divide[]

Over 42% of Yemenis are followers of the Zaidi school of Shia Islam, with another 1.5% following other Shia schools.[43] The Zaidi Shia Houthis' strength and influence were amplified after forming an alliance with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who helped enlist important segments of the country's military to fight against pro-Hadi coalition forces.[63][64]

Some analysts have cited Sunni solidarity as a motive for some of those in support of Saudi operations, as well as an effort to curb Shiite influence in the region. For example, Hassan Nuur, a Somali analyst citing his presidents support said "Somalis are Sunnis while Houthis are Shias so supporting the current Saudi-led invasion could endanger Somali refugees in Yemen as they could be seen as enemies instead of refugees."[65]

Military operations[]

According to the Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya, Saudi Arabia is contributing 100 warplanes and 150,000 soldiers to the military operation in Yemen. According to Reuters, planes from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain are also taking part in the operation. In addition, Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan are ready to participate in a ground offensive.[5]

The UAE contributed 30 fighter jets, Kuwait sent 15 (understood to be three squadrons of F/A-18 Hornet aircraft),[66] Bahrain sent 15, Qatar 10, Jordan and Morocco six each, and Sudan four.[14][16][67]

Air campaign[]

March 2015[]

In a joint statement, the member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (with the exception of Oman) said they decided to intervene against the Houthis in Yemen at the request of Hadi's government.[68]

The Saudi-led coalition declared Yemeni airspace to be a restricted area, with King Salman declaring the RSAF to be in full control of the zone.[14] Saudi Arabia began airstrikes, reportedly relying on United States intelligence reports and surveillance images to select and hit targets, including weapons and aircraft on the ground.[69] Al Arabiya said the first round of strikes targeted the military airbase at Sana'a International Airport and destroyed much of Yemen's air defences.[14] According to Saudi officials, the strikes also destroyed a number of Yemeni warplanes on the ground.[6] Al Jazeera reported that Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a Houthi commander appointed in February as president of the Revolutionary Committee, was injured and three other Houthi commanders were killed by airstrikes in Sana'a.[70]

According to rescue workers, 13 civilians were killed in a residential neighborhood near Al-Dulaimi Airbase after Saudi airstrikes destroyed seven homes.[71][72] Houthi-controlled al-Masirah TV quoted the health ministry as declaring the death toll to be 18.[72]

Saudi strikes on 26 March also hit Al Anad Air Base, a former U.S. special operations forces facility in Lahij Governorate seized by Houthis earlier in the week.[73] The targets reportedly also included the missile base in Sana'a controlled by the Houthis and the fuel depot at the base.[5] Strikes overnight also targeted Houthis in Taiz and Sa'dah. Thousands demonstrated in Sana'a against the intervention, which ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh also condemned.[74]

The scope of strikes expanded further on 27 March, with a radar installation in the Ma'rib Governorate and an airbase in the Abyan Governorate coming under air attack. The commander of the Saudi-led operation dismissed reports of civilian casualties, saying airstrikes were being carried out with precision.[75]

Additional strikes early in the morning on 28 March hit targets in Al Hudaydah, Sa'dah, and the Sana'a area, as well as Ali Abdullah Saleh's main base. Rumours indicated Saleh fled to Sanhan, on the outskirts of the Houthi-controlled capital.[76] More strikes destroyed part of a Houthi convoy of tanks, armoured vehicles, and trucks heading from Shuqrah toward Aden.[77] An Aden government official said Saudi strikes destroyed a long-range missile facility controlled by the Houthis.[78]

The Houthis claimed the shootdown of a Sudanese Air Force plane over northern Sana'a and the capture of its pilot on 28 March. The Sudanese government denied that any of its four warplanes participating in the operation had come under fire or been shot down.[16]

Airstrikes hit an arms depot, military airbase, and special forces headquarters in Sana'a early on 29 March. A weapons depot outside Sana'a was destroyed, causing damage to an airport and planes on the ground. Sa'dah and Al Hudaydah were targeted as well. Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, the coalition's spokesman, said Saudi artillery and Apache attack helicopters were mobilised to "deter" Houthi fighters massing on the border with Saudi Arabia.[79] Asiri also claimed strikes hit Scud missiles and pushed Houthis out of airbases throughout Yemen, destroying every jet fighter remaining on the ground in the country.[80]

On 30 March, at least 40 people including children were killed and 200 were injured[81] by an airstrike that hit Al-Mazraq refugee camp near a military installation in northern district of Haradh. The Houthis said the attack killed women and children, although witnesses told the Associated Press that the camp was occupied by the Houthis and most of the casualties were fighters. Airstrikes also hit areas near the presidential palace in Sana'a,[82] as well as Aden International Airport.[83]

During an Arab League summit, coalition states obtained permission from the government of Somalia to use its Berbera and Bosaso military bases to attack the Houthis, as well as the free use of Somali airspace and territorial waters.[84][85]

At least five airstrikes were conducted in support of Hadi loyalists in the Ad Dali' Governorate on 31 March. Strikes were also reported in the northern Sa'dah and Hajjah governorates, with Saudi helicopters being sent across the border.[83]

Food storage of Yemen Economic Corporation in Hodeidah was destroyed by three coalition's strikes on March 31, according to the Houthi-controlled defence ministry.[86]

Airstrikes were not limited to the Yemeni mainland. Missiles struck homes on the island of Perim, according to residents who fled by boat to Djibouti to escape the air campaign.[87]

April 2015[]

There were dozens of casualties from an explosion at a dairy and oil factory in Al Hudaydah, which was variously blamed on an airstrike or a rocket from a nearby military base launched shortly after midnight on 1 April. Medical sources reported 25 deaths, while the Yemen Army said 37 were killed and 80 wounded.[88] Airstrikes also hit targets in Sa'dah on 1 April.[41]

In Ad Dali', the pro-Houthi 33rd Brigade of the Yemen Army was hit by repeated airstrikes. Its commander reportedly fled and the brigade disintegrated.[89]

Despite persistent airstrikes, the Houthis and allied units continued to advance on central Aden, backed by tanks and heavy artillery.[90][91] The Houthis seized the presidential palace on 2 April, but reportedly withdrew after overnight air raids early the next day.[92] Coalition planes also airdropped weapons and medical aid to pro-Hadi fighters in Aden.[93]

A family of nine was killed and other civilians wounded by an airstrike on Okash village near Sana'a on 4 April, residents said.[94]

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced on 5 April that it had received permission from the coalition to fly medical supplies and aid workers into Sana'a and was awaiting permission to send a surgical team by boat to Aden.[95]

On 6 April, airstrikes began before sunset and struck targets in western Sana'a, Sa'dah, and the Ad Dali' Governorate, a supply route for Houthis in the Battle of Aden.[96]

Airstrikes on 7 April hit a Republican Guard base in the Ibb Governorate, injuring 25 troops. Yemeni sources claimed three children at a nearby school were also killed by the attack[97] and six were injured.[98]

The coalition hit arms depots in northern Aden on 8 April, causing three large explosions, according to residents.[99]

The Parliament of Pakistan voted against military action on 10 April, despite a request from Saudi Arabia that it join the coalition.[100]

Airstrikes launched on 12 April, against the base of the 22nd Brigade of the Yemeni Republican Guard in the Taiz Governorate struck both the brigade and a nearby village inhabited by members of the Al-Akhdam minority community, killing eight civilians and injuring more than ten others.[101]

On 17 April, both the GCC coalition's spokesman called by Saudi broadcaster Al-Ehkbariya TV and a commander of the pro-Hadi rebels on the ground in Yemen said air strikes had intensified, focusing on both Sana'a and Taiz, Yemen's third city.[102] One strike on the Republican Palace in Taiz killed 19 pro-Houthi gunmen.[103]

A combination of airstrikes and ground fighting in Daleh reportedly killed 17 Houthis and 6 Southern separatist fighters on 19 April.[104]

Naval role[]

Egypt and Saudi Arabia were quick to commit warships to support the coalition's operations.[105] Somalia also offered the Saudi-led coalition the use of its airspace and territorial waters.[8]

Four Egyptian Navy vessels crossed the Suez Canal and steamed toward the Gulf of Aden after operations began. They were expected to reach the Red Sea late on 26 March.[73] Saudi Arabia officially requested access from the Somali Government to use its airspace and waters to carry out operations against the Houthi rebels.[106] On 27 March, the Egyptian military said a squadron of Egyptian and Saudi warships took up positions at the Bab al-Mandab strait.[75] The Saudi military threatened to destroy any ship attempting to make port in Yemen.[107]

Two Saudi F-15S pilots were rescued by a United States Air Force Pararescue unit from Camp Lemonnier on 27 March, after a mechanical issue forced them to bail out in the Gulf of Aden just south of Yemen.[108]

The Royal Saudi Navy evacuated diplomats and United Nations staff from Aden to Jeddah on 28 March.[77]

Witnesses told Reuters that Egyptian warships bombarded Houthi positions as they attempted to advance on Aden on 30 March.[109] Warships again fired on Houthi positions at Aden International Airport on or about 1 April.[41]

Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, the foreign minister of Djibouti, said the Houthis placed heavy weapons and fast attack boats on Perim and a smaller island in the Bab al-Mandab strait. He warned that "the prospect of a war in the strait of Bab al-Mandab is a real one" and said the weapons posed "a big danger" to his country, commercial shipping traffic, and military vessels. He called on the coalition to clear the islands of the Houthi weaponry, which he said included missiles and long-range cannons.[110]

On 4 April, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called protecting Red Sea shipping and securing the Bab al-Mandab "a top priority for Egypt's national security".[111]

On 15 April, the spokesman for the coalition, Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Asiri, said in comments carried on Al-Ekhbariya TV and reported by the Saudi state news agency, SPA, that the coalition's warships were focussing on protecting shipping routes and screening ships heading to port in Yemen for shipments of provisions intended for the Houthis.[112]

The United States Navy has provided support to the naval blockade, halting and searching vessels suspected of carrying Iranian arms to the Houthis.[113] Pakistan said it would dispatch warships to enforce the arms embargo as well.[7]

Ground clashes[]

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stated their readiness to participate in a ground campaign in Yemen.[114] Sudan has also said it is stationing ground troops in Saudi Arabia to contribute to the intervention.[115]

On 31 March, Saudi and Houthi forces reportedly traded artillery and rocket fire across the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.[83][116] A Saudi border guard was killed on 2 April, the first confirmed coalition casualty of the campaign.[117] A civilian Egyptian truck driver reportedly suffered critical injuries from Houthi artillery shelling at the border on the same day. He later died in a Yemeni hospital under the control of the Houthis.[118]

Saudi Arabia reportedly began removing sections of the Saudi–Yemen barrier fence along its border with the Sa'dah and Hajjah governorates of Yemen on 3 April. The purpose of the removal was not immediately clear.[119]

Two more Saudi border guards were killed on 3 April in the 'Asir Region, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry.[120]

On 12 April, members of the Takhya tribe launched an attack on a Saudi military base after several of its members died in an airstrike. Exact number of Saudi casualties cannot be confirmed but large amounts of weapons and ammunition were taken.[121][unreliable source?]

An attempt by Houthi fighters to cross the border into Saudi Arabia was reportedly thwarted on 16 April, with Saudi troops capturing an unknown number of them.[122][unreliable source?]

On 19 April, as Houthi leader Abdul-Malek El-Houthi accused Saudi Arabia of planning an invasion of Yemen,[123] Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, the spokesman for the coalition, claimed that coalition forces had information regarding a planned Houthi incursion into Saudi Arabia and were working to prevent it.[124] On the same day, a Yemeni military commander in control of some 15,000 troops pledged his support for Hadi. His troops control an area spanning about half of the border with Saudi Arabia.[123] It was the second time in a week news had emerged of Yemeni troops defecting to Hadi's side, after five brigades switched their allegiances on 15 April.[125]

Alleged Iranian involvement[]

Hadi government, Saudi Arabia, most GCC States and the United States accused Iran of militarily and financially supporting the Houthis.[126][127] Officials from Tehran condemned the Saudi-led military campaign, even calling it a genocide, but refrained from military action.[128][129] On 9 April, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry warned Iran to stop its alleged support of the Houthis.[130]

On 8 April, Iranian Press TV announced the deployment of two Islamic Republic of Iran Navy warships, a destroyer and a support vessel, to the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations.[99][131]

Anti-Houthi fighters defending Aden said they captured two officers in the Iranian Quds Force on 11 April, who had purportedly been serving as military "advisors" to the Houthi militias in the city. They said the prisoners would be turned over to the coalition.[132] Iran has denied presence of any Iranian military force in Yemen.[133]

Special forces[]

CNN reported on 3 April, citing an unnamed Saudi source, that Saudi special forces were on the ground in and around Aden, "coordinating and guiding" the resistance in the city to the Houthis.[134] The Saudi government has officially declined to comment on whether it has special forces operating in Yemen, with Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir saying on 2 April that Saudi Arabia has no "formal" troops in Aden.[119]

Casualties[]

  • On March 26, Interior Ministry officials linked to Ansar Allah documented that 23 civilians had been killed and 24 wounded. Among the dead were 5 children, ages 2 to 13, 6 women, and an elderly man, they said. The wounded included 12 children, ages 3 to 8, and 2 women due to airstrike against Sana'a particularly in Bani Hawat, a predominantly Houthi neighborhood near Sanaa's international and military airports, and al-Nasr, near the presidential palace. Human Rights Watch documented the deaths of 11 civilians, including 2 women and 2 children, other than those provided by the Yemeni officials as well as 14 more wounded, including 3 children and 1 woman. According to Amnesty International, that bombing destroyed at least 14 homes in Bani Hawat.[135]
  • On March 31, Tuesday's statement from Geneva said U.N. human rights staffers in Yemen verified when airstrikes hit a refugee camp near the Houthi stronghold of Saada in northern Yemen, at least 19 civilians died. Also it reports at least 35 wounded, including 11 children. According to the U.N. human rights office in Geneva, in the past five days from the first day of military intervention, at least 93 civilians have been killed including 62 children and 364 wounded of which 30 were children[136] in five Yemeni cities engulfed in the violence, including, Sanaa. The overall figures are probably much higher and it was not immediately clear if the casualties cited by Geneva referred to just airstrikes or the strikes and fighting between Yemen's warring factions.[137]
  • On March 31, Saudi-led coalition forces raided Ibb governorate on Tuesday, leaving at least 11 civilians dead and 32 injured, 3 Houthis rebels were killed.[138] At least 10 civilians were killed and 13 injured in Saudi-led aerial strikes Monday evening on the National Cement Company (NCC) located in Wadi Saan area.[139] Explosion at a dairy factory in Hodeida governorate early Wednesday that killed 29 civilian employees and injured 25.[140]
  • On March 31, Relief Web released an escalated conflict situation report that states that, according to the WHO, 361 have been killed and over 1,345 have been injured - most of whom are civilians. The report states that 13 of Yemen's 22 Governorates were affected and highlighted infrastructure effect that detailed the coalitions bombing of an IDP camp that killed 29 and injured 40 as well as indiscriminate shelling that destroyed 2 schools, 2 mosques and several houses. Estimated fuel shortage in the south threatens water access to citizens and in Lahj, electricity and water services have not been functioning for several days.[141]
  • On April 2, Valerie Amos, the top United Nations official for humanitarian assistance, stated that the "Reports from humanitarian partners in different parts of the country indicate that some 519 people have been killed and nearly 1,700 injured in the past two weeks – over 90 of them children. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes, some by crossing the sea to Djibouti and Somalia. Electricity, water and essential medicines are in short supply."[142]
  • On April 3, an Egyptian truck driver was killed by Houthi shelling at the Yemeni-Saudi borders.[143]
  • On April 3, an airstrike killed a family of nine in a village near the capital, Sanaa. The family consisted of two men, a woman and six children.[144]
  • Three Red Crescent volunteers were reportedly killed during the first week of April while evacuating the wounded and retrieving the dead in Aden and Ad Dali'.[96]
  • On April 6, more than 50 people were killed in the port city of Aden alone.[145]
  • On April 7, a Saudi Airstrike hit a school near a military base in Maitam, killing 3 students and injuring over half a dozen. The exact number of casualties cannot be confirmed.[146][147]
  • On April 7, an airstrike killed 3 women and 3 children in the village of Beit Rejal west of Sanaa.[148]
  • The UN released a report stating that as of the start of the Saudi Operation over 293 people have been killed, including 74 children.[149]
  • On April 11, The World Health Organization said that 648 people were killed and 2,191 people were wounded. These statistics include civilians.[150]
  • On April 12, an airstrike that hit a Yemeni Camp in the city of Taiz killed eight civilians.[151]
  • On April 13, the UN reported that over 600 children have been killed, and that up to a third of Yemeni fighters participating in the conflict were minor children under the age of 18.[152]
  • On April 17, a Saudi airstrike hit a home in Yarim, south of Sanaa, killing 8 residents of the same family.[153]
  • On April 18, Yemeni locals reported the use of chemical weapons in air attacks on Fag Attan in the capital, Sanaa. The airstrikes caused nausea, suffocation and diarrhea.[154][unreliable source?]

Responses[]

Reactions in Yemen[]

Opposition[]

Following the call by the leader of the Houthi movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, tens of thousands Yemenis of various socioeconomic backgrounds took to the streets of the capital, Sana'a, to voice their anger at the Saudi intervention.[155][156] In a televised address, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi heaped scorn on Saudi Arabia for their “unjustified attack on Yemenis people.” He stressed that the attacks uncovered the “tyrannical nature” of Saudi regime. “This unjustified aggression shows the hostility and arrogance of this regime. The attacks are reflecting the inhumanity of the aggressor.”[157]

Support[]

Anti-Houthi groups, especially Sunnis in the south and north of the country, while supporting the intervention do not wish for the return to power of Hadi, since they view him as the man "who ceded control of the capital without a fight six months ago" to the Houthis.[158]

On 3 April, the Al-Islah party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared its support for the Saudi-led campaign.[159] Supporters of the party have reportedly suffered consequences, including kidnappings and raids, from supporters of the Houthis and of Saleh, as a result of this declaration.[160][161]

International reactions[]

The Arab League and United States voiced support for the intervention,[162][163][164] but the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations criticised it.[165][166][167]

Asian countries like China, India, Malaysia and Pakistan, moved within days to evacuate their citizens from Yemen.[168][169][170][171] The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy evacuated citizens from 10 different countries (for example, Poland), as well as its own nationals, from Aden by frigate on 2 April.[172] Indian Armed Forces carried out a massive rescue operation codenamed Operation Raahat evacuated more than 5,600 people (in just nine days) of which 4,640 were Indians & 960 were foreign nationals of 41 countries.[173][174] Somalia has also stated that it will send a ship to the port of Aden to evacuate it's citizens.[37]

On 4 April, the ICRC called for a 24-hour ceasefire to deliver aid and supplies after the Saudi-led coalition blocked three aid shipments to Yemen.[175][176] Russia also called for "humanitarian pauses" in the coalition bombing campaign, bringing the idea before the United Nations Security Council in a 4 April emergency meeting.[177] However, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United Nations has raised questions over whether humanitarian pauses are the best way of delivering humanitarian assistance.[178]

On 7 April, China renewed calls for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen[179]

On 10 April, Julien Harneis UNICEF Yemen representative said to the CNN, "The humanitarian situation is worsening all the time, with increasingly limited access to water, basic sanitation and critical health services,". As a result, UNICEF has sent antibiotics, bandages, syringes, IV sets and other medical supplies, to reach Yemen's capital Sana'a in an effort to improve hygienic conditions and to aid the civilian casualties.[180]

On 10 April, the Pakistani Parliament declined a Saudi Arabian request to join the coalition. The Parliament clarified the wish to maintain a neutral diplomatic stance.[181]

On 10 April, Human Rights Watch expressed concern that Saudi airstrikes violated the rules of war and urged the US and Saudi Arabia to minimize civilian casualties. The organization sent letters to the US and Saudi Arabia and reports that over 311 civilians killed and there was no legal reason for such a high toll.[182] On Monday April 13, the UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that it can confirm the death of 37 civilians including 10 children, in bombings the week before and that airstrikes had hit three hospitals in that period. And also stateed that in the last 24 hours, eight Yemeni cities were hit with airstrikes, including the capital, Sanaa.

On 14 April, the Security Council adopted a resolution placing an arms embargo on three top Houthi leaders, including Abdul-Malek Al-Houthi, as well as former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son, Ahmed Ali Saleh.[183][184] The embargo also covers their supporters, and calls on the Houthis to retreat and lay down arms. Other provisions in the resolution include appointing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to "facilitate" the provision of aid, including negotiating humanitarian pauses in the conflict. It also calls on all involved parties to participate in peace talks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The resolution was sponsored by Jordan, which holds a rotating seat at the Security Council, and the Gulf States.

On 16 April, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, resigned, citing his failure to negotiate an end to the conflicts in Yemen.[185] Benomar brokered the post-Arab Spring transition period in which saw current president Hadi take over from Ali Abdullah Saleh. Following the resignation, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen to facilitate the delivery of aid.[186]

On April 16, a group of Yemen scholars based in the United States and the United Kingdom wrote an open letter, stating that the operation is illegal under international law and called for the UN to enforce an immediate ceasefire.[187]

On 17 April, Iran submitted a four-point peace proposal aimed at ending the conflict to the United Nations. The proposal calls for an immediate ceasefire and end of all foreign military attacks, humanitarian assistance, a resumption of broad national dialogue and "establishment of an inclusive national unity government.[188] Exiled Yemeni officials later rejected the deal, calling it a political manouvere.[189] Russia confirmed it's backing of the proposal and that it would use it's full capacity to further the plan.[190]

The UN on 17 April called for 274 million US dollars in humanitarian aid for Yemen, to meet the needs of 7.5 million people over three months. The same day, Saudi Arabia pledged to fund the entire appeal.[191] However, the UN agency responsible has opted to keep the appeal open, stating that it "urged other donors to provide more support to meet increasing needs across the country."[192]

Other effects[]

Registration of Indian citizens evacuating from Yemen, March 2015

Gulf Air, the Bahraini flag carrier airline, announced the immediate suspension of service to Sana'a International Airport, amid the worsening crisis.[193] Somali airlines such as Daallo Airlines and Jubba Airways also encountered difficulties, as they were unable to fly over Yemen due to its airspace becoming a restricted area.[194] On 15 April, Turkish Airlines announced it was suspending all flights to Yemen until 1 June "due to the ongoing political unrest in the country".[195]

Following Hadi's request, the administration of the Egypt-based Nilesat and Saudi-based Arabsat, two satellite communication companies, stopped broadcasting the Yemeni state-run channels, which had fallen under Houthi control. The channels include Al-Yemen, Al-Eman, Saba and Aden TV. On the other hand, armed Houthis closed down the Sana’a offices of four media outlets, including Al-Jazeera, Yemen Shabab, and Suhail channels, as well as Al-Masdar’s newspaper and website. Al-Saeeda channel was also stormed, but has been allowed to remain open on condition it does not publish anything deemed anti-Houthi propaganda. Houthi Political Office member Mohammad Al-Bukhaiti said the channels were closed for being anti-Houthi and supporting the Saudi-led coalition in its bombing campaign.[196]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula exploited the chaos in Yemen to capture the southeastern port city of Al Mukalla in early April.[197]

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