Saudi-backed forces capture Yemen’s Hudaydah airport

Last week, Saudi-backed Yemeni forces launched a wide-ranging operation to retake Al-Hudaydah from Houthis
MARIB, Yemen: Yemeni government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition captured the airport of the port city of Al-Hudaydah on Tuesday, according to a Yemeni military commander.
“Army forces have completely captured Al-Hudaydah airport,” pro-government commander Raed al-Habhi told Anadolu Agency.
He said his forces were clearing the vicinity of the airport from Houthi rebels.
The official Saba news agency quoted another military commander confirming that government forces have seized control of the airport after deadly clashes with Houthi rebels.
“The national army has completely controlled Al-Hudaydah airport,” Abu Zaraa al-Mahrami said.
The Saba agency said Houthi rebels had fled the airport compound toward residential areas in the city.
Houthi leader Mohamed al-Bakhiti, for his part, said clashes were still raging south of the airport.
Last week, Yemeni government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, launched a wide-ranging operation to retake Al-Hudaydah — and its seaport — from the Houthis.
Yemen’s internationally-recognized government (currently based in the port city of Aden) and its allies accuse the Houthis of using the seaport to smuggle weapons into the country from Iran.
Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as proxies for Shia Iran — launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
The following year, UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait failed to end the destructive conflict.
The ongoing violence has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.–AA

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