Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Answar Gargash stated on Sunday, July 22, that UAE troops would resume their offensive against the Houthi-controlled port city of Al-Hudaydah should UN-brokered negotiations fail to reach an agreeable settlement. The offensive against Al-Hudaydah, which is a critical port and the primary entry point for humanitarian aid, has been paused since June 23. Meanwhile, Houthi leader Abdel Malik Al-Houthi stated that he was not opposed to a UN role in supervision of the port and city of Al-Hudaydah but would not withdraw from their positions as members of the Saudi-led coalition have demanded. Both sides are accusing the others of using the ceasefire to build up their military capabilities in preparation for the resumption of operations.
Should the negotiations fail, heavy fighting will likely resume in the area and lead to a closure of the port. This would create logistical challenges and significantly affect the ability to bring aid into the country.
UN officials have stated that tens of thousands of people could be killed in the city 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. Emirati officials have announced that they seek to gain control over the city's airport and seaport; the Emirati-backed fighters have reportedly gained control over the airport, but have not launched an offensive on the seaport because of the Houthis' heavy mining of the area.
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.
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