Yemeni forces, supported by the Arab coalition, captured a large section of Hodeidah airport on Friday, after fierce clashes with the Iran-backed Houthi militias.
The Yemeni army, with the support of the coalition, launched on Wednesday operation Golden Victory to recapture Hodeidah province and its strategic port from Houthi rebels.
The coalition issued a statement on Friday saying that it’s forces were at the edges of the airport and were “working to secure it…”
The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Rwanda, Hazza Alqathani, whose government is part of the coalition, told Taarifa on Friday evening from Kigali that his government is, together with the other members of the league, supporting the Yemen “legitimate” government to restore security.
“The interventions of the Arab collation in Yemen and the ongoing operations around Hodeidah are based on the request of the legitimate Yemen government,” he said.
Ambassador Alqathani added that the operations are in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council on the crisis.
The operation, he explained, “aims at allowing the legitimate government of Yemen to restore security and stability to the strategic port.”
Alqathani told Taarifa that the coalition has notified all UN agencies and other NGOs about the operation and provided safe passage for their staff.
The town of Hodeidah is believed to be the lifeblood of Yemen’s supplies, and for it to be under the control of the rebels has caused a serious crisis to the country.
Hodeidah has been controlled by the rebels since 2014 after driving the government out of the capital Sanaa and much of the country, prompting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The Arab coalition has since liberated 85% of the country since the start of the war, Ambassador Alqathani said, adding that, “the mismanagement of the port by the Houthi rebels and seizure of the humanitarian supplies has caused a catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen.”
Aparently the rebels seize all the humanitarian supplies and end up in the black market to generate revenues to support the rebels’ war activities including purchase of missiles and weaponry from Iran.
The situation has forced the coalition intervene.
“Operational priority is to avoid civilian casualties, maintain the flow of humanitarian aid, and allow for the UN to press the Houthis to evacuate the city,” a statement from the coalition said.