The Houthis have called on the United Nations to pressure the Saudi-led coalition to abide by the recent UN-brokered peace agreement reached in Sweden but there thus far has been no UN comment on the new Saudi attack.
HODEIDA, YEMEN — The fragile Yemeni truce reached in peace talks in Sweden in December is at risk after the Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign this past weekend to control al Jah al Aseel in Beit al Faqih, south of Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, risking another brutal cycle of violence.
The move comes after five UAE ships landed in Yemen’s southwestern city of Mocha over the weekend loaded with dozens of armored vehicles, heavy weapons, and various weapons carriers, according to a local source speaking to MintPress News on the condition of anonymity.
Medical staff in hospitals across Hodeida and Aden told MintPress that over twenty fighters from both sides have been killed in recent fighting in al Jah al Aseel in Beit al Faqih. According to these sources, most of the deceased fighters were foreign mercenaries fighting on behalf of the coalition.
The Houthis have called on the United Nations to pressure the Saudi-led coalition to abide by the recent UN-brokered peace agreement reached in Sweden but there has been no UN comment on the attack so far. The Houthis say they have, thus far, been able to thwart the advance of mercenary forces that are under the command of Saudi Arabia.
The attack on Jah al Aseel in Beit al Faqih comes following a Houthi hand-over of control of Hodeida’s port to Yemen’s national government’s Coast Guard under the supervision of UN monitors. The move is part of trust-building measures agreed upon in peace talks in Sweden.
Houthis indicate their compliance
Houthi military spokesman Yahiya Sar’e said on Saturday, “Our forces have started to redeploy since last night from Hodeida port, as agreed in Sweden.” The redeployment is intended to be the first step in the implementation of the agreement, to be followed by both sides pulling their forces out of three ports: Hodeida, Salif, and Rass Issa.
It is still unclear who will control the three ports or whether the two sides will share control with UN monitors. While both sides have agreed to a UN role in the port, they differ on who should run the city. The UN monitors will not be uniformed or armed but will provide support for the management of and inspections at the ports and strengthen the UN presence in Hodeida.
The United Nations has welcomed the Houthi withdrawal from Hodeida, though warning that the move can only be credible if all parties can verify it. Some members of the Saudi-led coalition have claimed that control of Hodeida has been given to Houthi fighters dressed in Coast Guard uniforms and that Hodeida effectively remains in Houthi hands.
For their part, the Houthis have agreed to let international monitors deploy to Hodeida. Under the deal, a Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) including both warring sides will oversee implementation. The parties were due to present detailed plans for a full redeployment to Patrick Cammaert, the head of the UN advance team charged with monitoring the ceasefire, at the RCC meeting on Jan. 1.
The Saudi-led coalition has also escalated its military offensives across other provinces in Yemen, killing dozens of civilians including women and children. Twenty-five kilometers south of Hodeida, four members of the Ahmed Saleh Qaty family were killed when Saudi artillery shells targeted a residential area in the Directorate of Heis.
Top Photo | Members of a Yemeni coast guard force ride on the back of a truck during their deployment as part of a U.N.-sponsored peace agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month, at the Red Sea city of Hodeida, Yemen December 29, 2018. Abduljabbar Zeyad | Reuters
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.