Spotlight: Military operations escalate between Yemeni warring factions despite UN's cease-fire calls

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-30 21:13:09|Editor: huaxia

ADEN, Yemen, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Military operations are still escalating between the Yemeni warring factions despite the United Nation's repeated calls for a temporary cease-fire to reduce the suffering of people in the impoverished Arab country.

On Sunday, the Iranian-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for bombing key targets in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh as well as other economic and Saudi military targets with ballistic missiles and drones.

According to the Houthi-affiliated Masirah television, the group's forces launched a number of ballistic missiles and drones against sensitive targets in different regions of Saudi Arabia particularly in Asir, Jazan, and Najran.

Yemen's internationally-recognized government strongly condemned the Houthis' firing of two ballistic missiles against Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh and Jizan city, according to its state-run Saba News Agency.

Saudi Civil Defense announced on Sunday that two civilians in Riyadh sustained minor injuries by the falling of debris of an intercepted missile shot by Yemen's Houthis.

Spokesperson of the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen Turki A Malki also said that the Houthi militia launched two missiles from Sa'adah and Sanaa in Yemen toward civilians and civilian objects in Riyadh and Jazan in Saudi Arabia.

The spokesperson said that "this villainous attack does not target Saudi Arabia, but the international solidarity, especially under such difficult and bitter conditions in which the world unites in combatting the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic."

In the war-ravaged Arab country, military operations are still intensifying between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthi fighters in several regions.

An official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that intense battles are still taking place between the two warring rivals in the western parts of the oil-rich northeastern Marib province.

During the past 24 hours, medical sources confirmed that the battles raging over the control of areas in Marib resulted in the killing and injuring of dozens from both sides.

The Houthi rebel group dispatched hundreds of fighters backed by armored vehicles to the outskirts of Marib in an attempt to achieve a military breakthrough and achieve progress toward the oil-rich province controlled by the government.

In the neighboring northeastern province of al-Jawf, fighting is still taking place between the Yemeni government forces and Houthi fighters in some deserted areas of the strategic city bordering Saudi Arabia.

Warplanes of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a series of airstrikes during the past 24 hours in support of the government forces fighting the Houthis on-ground in Marib.

A number of Saudi-led airstrikes struck some military sites controlled by the Houthi rebels in the country's capital of Sanaa, causing explosions in the area.

Military sources close to the Houthi group confirmed that more than 82 Saudi-led airstrikes were launched against different regions of the war-torn Arab country during the past 48 hours.

On Sunday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths condemned the continuation and escalation of ground and aerial military activities in Yemen, in particular in and around Marib province and the attacks against Saudi Arabia claimed by Houthis.

The envoy reiterated an immediate cessation of hostilities to build a conducive environment for achieving a nation-wide cease-fire.

"I am gravely dismayed and disappointed by these actions at a time when the Yemeni public's demands for peace are unanimous and louder than ever before. Yemen needs its leaders to focus every minute of their time on averting and mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak," Griffiths said.

Last week, the United Nations Secretary-General called on the warring parties in Yemen to immediately cease hostilities, focus on reaching a political settlement through peaceful negotiations, and do their best to counter the potential outbreak of COVID-19.

Yemeni political analysts believe that the current military escalation confirms the lack of seriousness toward the calls of cease-fire and peace in general.

Mohammed Ahmadi, a Yemeni political writer and analyst, said the warring factions welcomed the calls of cease-fire only through the media outlets but on ground the military operations are still escalating in different areas of the country.

Ahmadi considered that "targeting Saudi Arabia by the Houthis at this time in parallel with international calls for a cease-fire confirms the Houthis' reluctance to engage in a true truce to end the suffering of the Yemenis and pave the way for a comprehensive peace."

He pointed out that the Houthi escalation at this time aims to "pressure and acquiesce to listen to the group's demands and preconditions."

Yemen has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country's north and forced the Saudi-backed government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out Sanaa.

Over the past five years, Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military coalition against the Houthis in Yemen in support of Hadi's internationally-recognized government.