Yemeni military sources reported on Tuesday, July 19, that pro-government forces entered Al-Hudaydah International Airport (HOD) following fierce fighting over the past two days. Dozens of Houthi fighters were reportedly killed as the Arab coalition-backed forces seized the airport’s main compound. Local residents in the area reported that the fighting has cut off water around the Corniche area, forcing people to flee deeper into the center of the city. According to UN officials, around 26,000 residents have fled their homes between the start of the operation on June 6 and Monday, July 18. Additional fighting is expected between coalition-backed pro-government forces and Houthi rebel fighters in Al-Hudaydah in the coming days.
Pro-government forces are also advancing towards the city's seaport. The Yemeni government, however, maintains that allied fighters are refraining from attacking the seaport, through which most of the country's humanitarian aid flows. Yemeni government officials and the UN's World Food Programme issued conflicting statements on Thursday, June 14, regarding whether the seaport has remained open. UN officials have stated that tens of thousands of people could be killed if the situation turns into a lengthy siege; the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has predicted that 200,000 people may be displaced by the fighting.
Yemen is engaged in a complex and deadly conflict, ongoing since Houthi rebels entered into a civil war with the Yemeni government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition has carried out thousands of airstrikes in Yemen since its intervention began. Hundreds of Yemeni civilians have been killed in the strikes, which have hit schools, hospitals, and markets, in addition to Houthi militant positions and personnel. In total, more than 10,000 Yemenis have died in the fighting and some 3 million have been displaced.
Due to poor security conditions, many Western governments strongly advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.