Saudi Coalition in Yemen Escalates Airstrikes on Houthi Rebels

( The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen accelerated airstrikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in the capital and elsewhere in recent weeks as government forces advance on the west coast and in the key province of Marib.

The coalition reported on Sunday that it hit military facilities in rebel-held Sanaa and launched airstrikes against the Iranian-backed Houthis in both the Marib and Hodeida provinces. Houthi-run media reported dozens of Saudi-led airstrikes on rebels in the provinces of Hodeida, Marib, Sanaa, Tazi, and Saada.

The escalation in fighting over the last several weeks comes as Houthi rebels repeatedly pushed back against US and UN diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the Houthis’ Marib offensive and their missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia. Both the United States and the UN want the Houthis to engage in diplomatic negotiations to settle the years-long conflict in Yemen.

Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when the province of Sanaa was seized by the Houthis who control much of the north. In 2015, the Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict determined to restore the government and oust the rebels. Since then, the civil war has transformed into a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and fighters and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions suffering from food and medical shortages.

Over the past week, the Saudi-led coalition confirmed that it launched numerous airstrikes on Houthi military camps and weapons storehouses throughout Sanaa.

Government forces seized control of the district of Hays in Hodeida province, securing a major highway linking the port city of Hodeida with the rebel-held capital. According to the Yemeni Armed Forces, with the support of the Saudi-led coalition, forces advanced in the Jabal Raas and Garrahi districts south of Hodeida city.

The escalation in Hodeida comes just three weeks after the pro-government Joint Forces redeployed out of the city, arguing there was no longer need for them to remain after the 2018 UN-brokered ceasefire that ended fighting in the coastal city.

This current escalation is a major setback to that ceasefire which was seen as an important first step in ending the civil war in Yemen.