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ICRC concerned over Houthi offensive in central Yemen

Saudi-backed government troops repel a Huthi rebel offensive on oil-rich Marib, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa, on February 14, 2021. (AFP)
Saudi-backed government troops repel a Huthi rebel offensive on oil-rich Marib, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa, on February 14, 2021. (AFP)
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20 Feb 2021 12:02:24 GMT9
20 Feb 2021 12:02:24 GMT9
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross urges all parties to the conflict to take every possible measure to protect the civilians, their properties and all civilian essential infrastructures

CAIRO: The International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen said on Friday it was “extremely concerned” by the recent escalation of violence between Houthis and government forces in in the Marib province.

“The ICRC urges all parties to the conflict to take every possible measure to protect the civilians, their properties and all civilian essential infrastructures,” the humanitarian agency tweeted.

The ICRC said it has provided medical supplies, including surgical kits, to hospitals treating the wounded, vowing to continue with the provision of medical needs.

Earlier this month, Houthis renewed their attacks on Marib in central Yemen. Advances stalled however amid stiff resistance and airstrikes from the Arab coalition.

The latest bout of violence killed dozens of Houthis.

Marib province has served as a sort of haven for around 1 million Yemenis who have fled Houthi offensives since the start of the war in 2014, according to UN figures.

The UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council that the conflict had taken “a sharp escalatory turn” after the Houthis launched the Marib offensive.

“I have condemned this many times … and I repeat my call now: The attack on Marib must stop,” Griffiths said.

“It puts millions of civilians … at risk, especially with the fighting threatening to reach the camps for internally displaced persons.”

On Friday, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced concern over the fate of several thousand of internally displaced people, or IDPs, who had to flee from Marib’s district of Swarih eastward to the province’s capital, after the heavy fighting left them without water, electricity, heath and educational needs.

“If the frontlines continue to move east toward the city and other populated parts of Marib Governorate, it is likely hundreds of thousands of civilians will be forced to flee the area,” Liz Throssell said in a statement.

She called on all parties to ensure safe passage for civilians, including IDPs and East African migrants.

Humanitarian workers and aid should be allowed to reach civilians in all areas at all times, she added.

AP

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