Saudi-led forces started a naval blockade of Yemen’s ports on Monday, five days after the start of the operation dubbed “Decisive Storm” against Houthi rebels, a coalition spokesman has revealed. Speaking at a press conference in a Riyadh military base, Major General Ahmed Al-Asiri said that nobody is allowed to leave Yemeni ports without being stopped and searched.
“Today, all the navy vessels needed for the blockade are in place,” explained the Saudi officer. “They are going to monitor all ships entering and leaving Yemeni ports, including those involved in the smuggling of weapons and people.”
According to AP, the naval blockade appears to be intended to prevent the Houthis from rearming. The move comes after the coalition forces achieved full control of the skies and bombed a number of Houthi-held airports. It is believed that the Houthi militias are supported and supplied by Iran, but both Tehran and the Houthi leadership deny that this is the case.
Al-Asiri stressed that the coalition is working to prevent the Houthis from moving towards Aden or Yemen’s northern border, which it shares with Saudi Arabia.
“They [the Houthis] will not have a safe place and pressure on them will increase in order to prevent them moving or harming the Yemenis,” insisted Al-Asiri. He suggested that the militias have been trying to force the coalition forces to target residential areas in order to use this as part of a propaganda war.