News World Fighting eases in Yemen's Hodeidah as Western pressure mounts

Fighting eases in Yemen’s Hodeidah as Western pressure mounts

Battles eased in Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah on Monday in a possible sign of de-escalation as Western allies pressed the Saudi-led coalition to end the war against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels that has left Yemen on the verge of starvation.

Air strikes against Houthi fortifications halted on Monday and street battles, which had been raging for a week on the outskirts of the Red Sea city, trapping civilians and endangering hospitals, died down, residents said.

The lull coincided with a visit by British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt to Saudi Arabia to press for an end to the nearly four-year war that has killed more than 10,000 people.

U.N. officials welcomed the development as a positive sign, but coalition spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Malki, said the offensive on the Houthi-held city was still on.

“The operation is still ongoing. It’s not true that there is a ceasefire in Hodeidah,” Malki told reporters in Riyadh.

The Sunni Muslim coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has renewed its offensive on Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, as Washington and London called for a ceasefire amid renewed U.N.-led peace efforts.

Western governments that support the coalition with arms and intelligence have toughened their stance on Yemen after the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 sparked a global outcry and opened Riyadh to possible sanctions.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said there could be no winner in the war and it was time to cut losses.

“It’s a dirty war. The international community needs to say that’s enough. That’s what the U.S. says, we’re saying and the British too,” he told France 2 television.

The conflict is seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and arch foe Shi’ite Iran.

CIVILIANS DESPERATE

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande, had welcomed the easing in battles as a positive sign, especially for trapped civilians who are “absolutely desperate”.

“It seems that the shelling and the strafing and the bombing has stopped. Now, we’re not sure about the implications of this, but it is very welcome indeed,” she told BBC radio.

Another U.N. official told Reuters there are some positive signs that the warring parties are moving toward de-escalation as the United Nations tries to resume peace talks that collapsed in September when the Houthis failed to show up.

International medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it treated 134 wounded from the fighting in Hodeidah, including 14 women and 24 children since Nov. 1.

Hodeidah is an entry point for 80 percent of the impoverished country’s food imports and relief supplies. The United Nations has warned that any disruption to the port risks triggering a famine.

The coalition intervened in the war in 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government ousted by the Houthis, who control populous areas of Yemen including the capital Sanaa.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi say wresting control of Hodeidah, the Houthi’s main supply line, would force the group to negotiate.

The coalition had abandoned an earlier offensive on the city in June without any gains amid international concern about a humanitarian catastrophe to give peace efforts a chance.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Two arrests in connection with Ormideia murder

  Police have made two arrests in connection with the murder of a 29 year old private security guard outside his father's home in Ormideia...

Summer film marathon in Nicosia

    The Constantia open air cinema in Nicosia's Palliouritissa area will host a summer film marathon from July 22 to September 13, with organisers promising...

UK’s Sunak announces bonuses to get workers back into jobs

    Britain's government will seek to head off an unemployment crisis by paying bonuses to employers to bring workers back to their jobs from the...

Ministry publishes protocols for children’s play areas

    The Health Ministry has published health protocols for the operation of children's play areas so as to minimise the risk of the spread of...

June vehicle registrations down an annual 5.8%

    In June 2020, a month during which many COVID-19 containment measures were being gradually lifted in Cyprus, the total registration of motor vehicles numbered...

Taste

How to make triandafillo ice cream, by UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin

  Just in time for the scorching heat, UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin has shared her recipe for refreshing triantafillo ice cream -- or as...

Cyprus sprouts with cream and prosciutto

In a big, deep frying pan, fry the prosciutto in the olive oil, on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic...

Pork burger with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies

Mix all the ingredients together with the mince in a bowl, and combine well. Divide into 4 balls and form the burgers. Warm a griddle/pan...

Sheftalies

Wash the lamb cauls with plenty of cold water and let them settle in water and vinegar for a little while. Soak the bread crumbs...