Yemen Forces Launch Assault on Rebel-held Port City
Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive Wednesday to retake the rebel-held port city of Hodeida, a key aid hub, sparking calls from the international community for restraint, according to Agence France-Presse.
Pro-government troops began the assault despite mounting international fears about the humanitarian fallout, pressing toward Hodeida airport south of the city after receiving a “green light” from the coalition.
By Wednesday night, the offensive remained on the outskirts of the rebel-held airport.
The Red Sea port, controlled by the Iran-backed Huthi rebels who hail from northern Yemen, serves as the entry point for 70 percent of the impoverished country’s imports as it teeters on the brink of famine.
Britain requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the offensive, and the top UN body is expected to hold talks on Thursday.
The request came after the UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said he was still holding negotiations on keeping the key port open to aid deliveries.”We are in constant contact with all the parties involved to negotiate arrangements for Hodeida that would address political, humanitarian, security concerns of all concerned parties,” he said.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief warned of the “devastating” impact the assault would have.