TIME Yemen

A 5-Day Humanitarian Cease-Fire Has Begun in Yemen

Mideast Yemen Saudi
Hani Mohammed—AP Fire and smoke rises after a Saudi air strike in Sanaa, Yemen on July 13, 2015

Security officials said the situation on the ground has quieted

(SANAA, Yemen) — Saudi-led coalition airstrikes came to a halt in Yemen early Monday after a five-day humanitarian truce went into effect, witnesses and security officials said.

However, ground fighting broke out almost immediately in the restive city of Taiz following random shelling by Shiite Houthi rebels in three neighborhoods, they said.

Security officials said ground fighting has also erupted in Marib province and in the area surrounding the strategic al-Anad military base in Lahj province.

Random shelling by Houthis and their allies hit northern and western areas of the port city of Aden after the cease fire, security officials and witnesses said.

The Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition of mainly Gulf Arab countries has been waging an air campaign since March against the Iran-supported rebels, who control most of northern Yemen and the capital, Sanaa.

The pause declared by the Saudi-led coalition began at 11:59 p.m. (2059 GMT, 4:59 p.m. EDT) Sunday. It is intended to help allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to ease the suffering of civilians in the Arab world’s poorest country.

The coalition made the unexpected announcement about the humanitarian pause on Saturday. The statement, carried on Saudi state media, said the coalition will cease military operations, but that it will respond should Houthi rebels or their allies conduct any military actions or movements.

The rebels, known as Houthis, have expressed doubt over the truce. One Houthi official said it will likely mark “the beginning of a new war.” Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi’s Revolutionary Council, said Sunday that the group had not received official notification of the truce from the United Nations.

Two previous humanitarian truces in Yemen did not hold.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the coalition’s announcement of the cease-fire and urged the Houthis and other parties to suspend military operations and “maintain the humanitarian pause for the sake of all the Yemeni people,” Ban’s spokesman said. Ban also urged all sides “to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Yemen.”

Earlier on Sunday, Saudi-backed Yemeni troops and their allies clashed with Houthi rebels in a strategic town north of the port city of Aden, security and military officials from both sides of the conflict said.

The pro-government fighters had withdrawn from the town of Sabr earlier in the day after fierce battles with the Houthis. They returned hours later following the arrival of military reinforcements and wrested control of a large portion of the town, security officials said.

The officials said five pro-government fighters were killed and 15 wounded in the battle. Local medical officials said eight rebels were killed and 20 wounded.

The running battles in Sabr, which is on a key supply route, have lasted for more than a day after troops stormed it in their push north from Aden toward the strategic military base of Al-Anad, which is held by the rebels.

Security officials and residents of Sabr said the situation on the ground has quieted after the cease-fire took effect.

The Yemeni troops fighting in Sabr had been training since April in military camps in al-Buraiqeh, the port city west of Aden, military officials from the Saudi-led coalition said. Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian and Jordanian military advisers there have set up the camps and trained hundreds of fighters, they added.

The fighters also received over 300 armored personnel carriers from the United Arab Emirates by sea. These sophisticated carriers are largely driven by non-Yemenis, the military officials said. Two Emirati officers have been killed in battle in Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition’s latest offensive, known as the “Golden Arrow,” started on July 16.

Al-Buraiqeh is also home to the Yemeni Fourth Military Base, which is in charge of all military operations in Aden.

The foreign military advisers, officials said, arrived in al-Buraiqeh by sea more than a month ago and serve as intermediaries between the Yemeni troops and the coalition leadership in neighboring Saudi Arabia. They also supervise the distribution of weapons and give coordinates for coalition airstrikes, military officials said.

All the officials spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to brief reporters.

TIME Yemen

Saudi-Led Coalition Announces 5-Day Pause in Yemen Attacks

A previous humanitarian pause never truly took hold

(CAIRO)—The Saudi-led coalition says it will start a five-day humanitarian pause in Yemen on Sunday at one minute before midnight.

The statement, carried on Saudi state media Saturday, says the pause came at the request of embattled Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to Saudi’s King Salman.

It says the coalition will cease military operations, but that it will respond should Shiite Houthi rebels or their allies conduct any military actions or movements.

The previous humanitarian pause, which was announced earlier this month and was expected to last until the end of the holy month of Ramada, never truly took hold as parties to the conflict traded accusations.

The Saudi-led coalition launched the airstrike campaign in March against the Houthis, who seized the capital, Sanaa, and other cities.

TIME conflict

Nearly 100 Killed by Rebel Shelling in Yemen

Yemen Dar Saad
Saleh Al-Obeidi—AFP/Getty Images Yemenis watch as smoke billows following clashes between fighters loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Huthi rebels, in the Dar Saad suburb of the southern Yemeni city of Aden on July 19, 2015.

The shelling in Dar Saad began after the Houthi rebels lost control of much of the Aden district of Tawahi, according to officials and witnesses

(SANAA, Yemen)—The death toll in Yemen from the Shiite rebel shelling of a town near the southern port city of Aden rose Monday to nearly 100, the head of an international aid group said, describing it as “the worst day” for the city and its surroundings in over three months of fighting.

The rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies started shelled the town of Dar Saad on Sunday after earlier losing control of some of Aden’s neighborhoods. The violence highlighted the bloody chaos of the civil war gripping the Arab world’s poorest country, which also has been the target of Saudi-led, U.S.-backed airstrikes since late March.

Hassan Boucenine of the Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders said that by Monday, his organization reported nearly 100 people dead, twice the casualty toll from the previous day.

The shelling also wounded about 200 people, said Boucenine, the head of the organization in Yemen. Of the victims, 80 percent are civilians, including many pregnant women, elderly and children, he added.

“Yesterday was the worst day in Aden since (the Saudi-led coalition campaign) started in March,” Boucenine told The Associated Press, adding that he fears “attacks on civilians will continue.”

Sunday’s shelling in Dar Saad began after the Houthi rebels lost control of much of the Aden district of Tawahi, according to officials and witnesses. Tawahi is now under a security lockdown, the officials said, as anti-Houthi forces search buildings looking for rebels, some of whom had fled to the nearby mountains.

Overnight, the Saudi-led coalition targeted Houthi positions north of Aden and in Dar Saad, killing at least 55 rebels, officials and witnesses said.

The coalition also struck the home of Mehdi Meqlawa, a prominent supporter of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a Sanaa suburb. In the Yemeni capital, it also hit Houthi headquarters near the Souq Aziz market, killing one person.

Rebel shelling continued Monday in Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, killing eight residents, while ground fighting raged on in Marib, with six anti-Houthi tribesmen and 10 Houthi fighters killed in clashes. All officials and eyewitnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters or feared reprisals.

Houthi officials declined to comment on the fighting.

The spokesman of the Yemeni government in exile, Rageh Badie, said they appointed the head of the Resistance Council, Nayef al-Bakri, as governor of Aden. Al-Bakri served as deputy to the former governor, Abdulaziz bin Habtoor, who fled the embattled city earlier this year. Al-Bakri is joined by the exiled deputy minister of health and the transportation and interior ministers, who have flown into Aden two days ago from Saudi Arabia. Other exiled ministers will follow suit over the next few weeks, Badie said.

Yemen’s conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthis and troops loyal to the former president, Saleh, against an array of forces, including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants as well as loyalists of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is backed internationally.

___

Youssef reported from Cairo.

TIME Yemen

Saudi Airstrike On Yemen Market Kills 45 Civilians

Saudi-led airstrikes yemen
Yahya Arhab—EPA A general view of the ruins of the house of a Yemeni army commander loyal to the Houthis after it was hit by two airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Sanaía, Yemen on July 6, 2015.

More than 50 civilians were also wounded in the strike in a suburb north of Aden

(SANAA, Yemen) — A massive airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebels hit a local marketplace in Yemen, killing over 45 civilians on Monday, security officials and eyewitnesses said.

More than 50 civilians were also wounded in the strike in Fayoush, a suburb just north of the southern port city of Aden, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information otherwise.

“I came right after the explosion and saw dozens of dead strewn about and a sea of blood, while the wounded were being evacuated to nearby hospitals,” resident Abu-Ali al-Azibi said. “(There was) blood from people mixed with that of the sheep and other livestock at the market.”

The officials, who said they do not identify with either the rebels, known as Houthis, nor the camp of the exiled president, said Saudi-led airstrikes against the rebels continued across the country, with nine provinces and the capital hit.

The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia. The rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in September. In March, a Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition began launching airstrikes against the rebels and their allies.

The conflict has left 20 million Yemenis without access to safe drinking water and uprooted over one million people from their homes, the United Nations said. Last Wednesday, it declared its highest-level humanitarian emergency in the country, where over 80 percent of the population needs assistance.

TIME Yemen

Yemen Crisis: 21 Million People Now in Urgent Need of Food, Humanitarian Aid

A Saudi-led blockade on maritime traffic has limited commercial goods from entering Yemen, forcing prices of food and fuel to skyrocket

The U.N. envoy to Yemen said Wednesday that the conflict-torn nation was “one step away from famine,” with nearly 80% of its population — 21 million people — in need of humanitarian aid.

Following a briefing of the bloc’s Security Council in New York, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said a cease-fire was a priority and called on all parties involved to broker a truce before the end of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan on July 17, reports Agence France-Presse. Peace talks between Yemen’s political parties, mediated by Ahmed, collapsed last week in the Swiss city of Geneva.

“While we pursue a sustainable long-term cessation of violence, I called on all the relevant parties to agree without delay to a humanitarian truce,” said Ahmed.

Yemen descended further into chaos in March when a Saudi-led coalition began bombing sorties to stop an advance by local Shi‘ite Houthi rebels. They want to restore the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to power, having driven incumbent President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.

Over the past three months alone, thousands of people have been killed or injured by air strikes and ground fighting, and 1 million more have been displaced, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Due to a coalition blockade of maritime traffic, commercial goods including food and medical supplies are only trickling into the country. Fuel and food prices have therefore skyrocketed, escalating the humanitarian disaster for Yemen’s citizens.

According to a joint survey by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme, 6 million people in the country are slipping toward severe hunger and desperately need emergency food and lifesaving assistance. A further 6.5 million people are facing a food security “crisis.”

Yemen officials in the southern port city of Aden have called on international aid organizations to deliver more medical supplies as more than 4,000 people have contracted the mosquito-borne and sometimes fatal disease dengue fever, reports al-Jazeera.

TIME Yemen

Yemen al-Qaeda Leader Who Claimed Credit for Charlie Hebdo Attack Killed in Drone Strike

A senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader who claimed the group’s responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the murder of an American hostage during a botched raid in December has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, it was announced Thursday.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced the death of leader Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi and other operatives by a U.S. drone strike in a video, which was verified by security consulting firm and NBC News partner Flashpoint Intelligence.

Al-Ansi had appeared in several militant videos for the group, including one claiming responsibility for the Paris attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, which left 12 people dead …

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Innovation

Why Read Hamlet When You Can Play It?

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Why read Hamlet when you can play an immersive time-traveling video game version instead?

By Jess Joho in Kill Screen

2. Here’s how to attract female engineers.

By Lina Nilsson in the New York Times

3. Everyone is losing in Yemen’s war.

By Adam Baron in Foreign Policy

4. Google and Facebook could save — or consume — journalism.

By Emily Bell in the Columbia Journalism Review

5. We know how to dramatically reduce teen pregnancies, but we don’t. Here’s why.

By Nora Caplan-Bricker in the National Journal

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Are We Breaking Up With Saudi Arabia?

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Is the special Saudi-U.S. relationship on the rocks?

By Ray Takeyh at the Council on Foreign Relations

2. Two-year degrees can really pay off.

By Liz Weston at Reuters

3. A self-contained urban farm, delivered in a box, could slash water use by 90 percent.

By Danny Crichton in TechCrunch

4. How a lake full of methane could power Rwanda and DR Congo.

By Jonathan W. Rosen in MIT Technology Review

5. Nope, we’re not going to live on crickets in the near-future.

By Brooke Borel in Popular Science

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: April 20

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. America loves to take sides in regional conflicts. In Yemen, we shouldn’t.

By Paul R. Pillar in the National Interest

2. Here’s why Congress should drop the ban on federal funds for needle exchanges. (It’s because they work.)

By Kevin Robert Frost at CNN

3. Cheap coal is a lie.

By Al Gore and David Blood in the Guardian

4. How small-batch distilling could save family farms.

By Andrew Amelinckx in Modern Farmer

5. Can you fix city management with data? Mike Bloomberg is betting $42 million you can.

By Jim Tankersley at the Washington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Iran

Iran Foreign Minister Urges Talks With West to Solve Crisis in Yemen

Smoke rises during an air strike on an army weapons depot on a mountain overlooking Yemen's capital Sanaa April 20, 2015.
Khaled Abdullah—Reuters Smoke rises during an air strike on an army weapons depot on a mountain overlooking Yemen's capital Sanaa April 20, 2015.

Mohammad Javad Zarif says U.S. and its allies must choose between "cooperation and confrontation"

Iran’s Foreign Minister has called for dialogue with the U.S. and Western allies to confront crises in its regional neighbors, saying civil war-torn Yemen would be a “good place to start.”

Mohammad Javad Zarif, who reached a framework agreement on his country’s nuclear program earlier this month with the U.S. and its negotiating partners, also tied the agreement to broader regional cooperation.

“To seal the anticipated nuclear deal, more political will is required,” he wrote in an op-ed article in the New York Times. “It is time for the United States and its Western allies to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation, between negotiations and grandstanding, and between agreement and coercion.”

Zarif, who was named this year as one of the TIME 100 most influential people in the world, said a forum for dialogue in the Sunni Persian Gulf states could help the traditional rivals to solve crises in Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria has seized swathes of territory, and in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has spearheaded airstrikes against the rebel Houthis, a Shi’ite group with ties to Iran. Iran denies allegations that it has armed the group and is calling for a ceasefire.

“If one were to begin serious discussion of the calamities the region faces, Yemen would be a good place to start,” Zarif wrote.

Underscoring the rising violence in Yemen, an airstrike Monday morning in Sana’a, the capital, set off an enormous explosion that shook the city and reportedly killed dozens of people.

Read more at the New York Times.

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