After seven days of fighting, the Saudi-led coalition and its allied forces entered Hudaydah airport today.
The Iranian-aligned Houthi group used mortar fire and artillery to ward off the advance but were overcome after a fierce battle erupted in the early hours of the morning. Houthi snipers camping on rooftops of residential buildings have reportedly been targeted.
“Houthi forces are trying to disrupt the advance of the government forces” into the airport, a military source told the Anadolu Agency. Smoke and fire can be seen by residence living in the surrounding area.
Despite the Saudi-led coalition attaining superior weaponry, military skills and support from the United States, the coalition has failed to defeat the Houthis in a conflict that has already claimed the lived of some 10,000 people.
The Houthis have not commented on the latest conflict development but claimed on the Houthi-run Yemen News Agency (SABA) that over 44 Saudi-led coalition military trucks were destroyed in the west coast.
— Ludovico Carlino (@ludowizze) June 19, 2018
The move comes as part of efforts to regain control of Hudaydah, Yemen’s most strategic port through which as much as 80 per cent of aid for Yemenis in delivered and which is located on the strategic Bab El Mandeb strait, a vital maritime shipping route.
On Sunday, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash put pressure on the UN to seek an “unconditional withdrawal” from the Houthis. But Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, left the Houthi-controlled capital Sana’a yesterday without securing a solution to the three-year-old conflict.
The Saudi-led coalition continues to accuse the Houthis of using the Hudaydah port to smuggle weapons from Iran despite the coalition monitoring the Bab El Mandeb strait which leads to the port. There has been no empirical evidence to suggest that the Houthis are receiving arms via the Hudaydah port, with UN experts questions the accusation.
Approximately 250,000 Yemeni lives will be impacted by the attack on Hudaydah, according to the United Nations. Yemeni civilians have resorted to taking shelter in schools to avoid being targeted by the largest offensive by the Saudi-led coalition in the country.