SANAA (Dispatches) – A Saudi-led military coalition resumed air strikes on Wednesday in support of Yemeni allied forces seeking to capture the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah from Houthi Ansarullah fighters, residents said.
The offensive restarted after a two-month break, following the failure of inter-Yemeni talks sponsored by the United Nations last week in Geneva.
The offensive came as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed on Wednesday he had certified to Congress that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are working to avoid harming civilians in Yemen, a determination required by this year’s military spending bill.
Pompeo said in a statement he had advised Congress on Tuesday that "the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.”
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of its regional allies, mainly the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, started a war against Yemen with the declared aim of crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who had taken over from the staunch Riyadh ally and former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while also seeking to secure the Saudi border with its southern neighbor. More than three years later and over 15,000 dead and thousands more injured, the war has yielded little to that effect.
The ongoing aggression by the Saudi-led coalition has devastated Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. The war is estimated to have cost the Saudis upwards of $100 billion, eroded the international image of the kingdom and failed to achieve any of its objectives.
The spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says the United Nations cannot put an end to the almost three-and-a-half years old Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen, which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians and left the country’s critical infrastructure in ruins.
"The United Nations failed to obtain the necessary permit. The Saudi-led coalition claimed as usual that we had set out conditions. The alliance even went to the extent to exaggerate that the wounded fighters we were planning to take with us for treatment in Europe were of Iranian and Lebanese origins. Such allegations were made out of political bankruptcy,” Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network cited Mohammed Abdul-Salam as writing on his official Twitter page on Sunday.
A Yemeni child recites a prayer by the graves of schoolboys who were killed while on a bus that was hit by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in August.