The killing of civilians by Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes and attacks by pro and anti-Huthi armed groups in Ta’iz and Aden in Yemen could amount to war crimes, Amnesty worldwide has revealed in a new briefing published Tuesday.
Ground battles intensified elsewhere in the central city of Taiz between coalition-backed fighters loyal to exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Iranian-allied rebels supported by military forces run by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was forced out of power in 2012 after a yearlong of popular protests.
The report describes eight Saudi coalition air strikes in southern Yemen that killed 141 civilians and injured 101, mostly women and children.
Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition hit Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeida yesterday, and officials there said the raids destroyed cranes and warehouses in the main entry point for aid supplies to the north of the country. The fighting has killed more than 4,300 people, about half of them thought to be civilians.
The report Yemen: Childhood Under Threat said the number of children recruited or used in the conflict had more than doubled to 377 so far in 2015 from 156 in 2014.
The Obama administration is providing intelligence, munitions and midair refueling to coalition aircraft, and U.S. warships have helped enforce a blockade in the Gulf of Aden and southern Arabian Sea intended to prevent weapons shipments from Iran to the Houthis.
“She also highlighted the “acute” humanitarian crisis in southern Yemen with essential services cut off, high food prices, damaged infrastructure and limited health care”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has condemned the occupation of the UAE embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, by the Houthi militia on Sunday.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says at least 400 children have been killed in Yemen since late March, when Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against its impoverished neighbor.
Complicating the fight has been the involvement a variety of anti-Houthi rebel groups, some with links to the nation’s Al Qaeda affiliate and ISIS.
Forces loyal to Hadi claim to have driven the Houthis out of much of the country’s south; the rebels say they staged a strategic retreat.
According to the Amnesty global, Saudi Arabia and its allies have killed at least 2,000 civilians during their air strikes against the Houthis since March.
Amnesty’s report said “all parties may have committed war crimes”.
Ten million children, approximately 80 percent of the country’s population under 18 years old, are in urgent need of some form of humanitarian aid.