AL-MUKALLA: Dozens of Houthi militia have been killed in a series of airstrikes launched by the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen amid heavy fighting between government forces and rebels in the provinces of Marib and Hajjah.
Coalition warplanes struck a Houthi military convoy in the northern Abes district as the vehicles attempted to reach the battlefields in Hajjah province, local media said.
A Houthi field commander was among the dead, while the airstrikes also destroyed military supplies and paved the way for government troops to repulse attacks by the Iran-backed militia.
The coalition on Wednesday said that 18 airstrikes in the past 24 hours destroyed 12 Houthi military vehicles and killed a large number of rebel fighters in Hajjah province.
Meanwhile, the international medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres on Wednesday announced it will withdraw its staff and suspend its activities in the Houthi-controlled Abes district of Hajjah, citing security concerns.
“MSF took the decision to withdraw its staff and temporarily suspend its activities in the Abes hospital, in Hajjah governorate as of March 1, 2022, while we are negotiating with the authorities to ensure the safety and security of our staff and patients,” the organization said on Twitter.
Separately, the Houthis on Wednesday criticized the UN Security Council over its decision to extend an arms embargo on the Iran-backed militia and label it a terrorist organization.
Hisham Sharaf, the Houthi foreign minister, called the decision “provocative.”
On Monday, the Security Council approved a resolution renewing an arms embargo on the Houthis, referring to the movement for the first time as a “terrorist group.”
In Aden, the interim capital of Yemen, the country’s internationally recognized government hailed the UN decision and its description of the Houthis as terrorists, saying that the blockade will curb the militia’s destabilizing activities in the Red Sea and its obstruction of peace initiatives.
“This resolution will help in reducing Houthi threats to safety and security of international shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and it is a positive step to pressure Houthis to abandon the path of war and return to the peace track,” Yemen’s government said on Twitter.
UN Yemen envoy Hans Grundberg said on Wednesday that he had met with Yemeni and Saudi officials, the US Yemen envoy and ambassadors for the five permanent UN members to discuss pushing Yemeni parties into more constructive discussions with the aim of achieving an immediate truce and, eventually, a peaceful settlement to end the war.
Grundberg thanked Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for supporting his efforts to reach a deal in Yemen.
“We need to initiate an inclusive multitrack process that addresses short-term and longer-term priorities, and that can lay the foundation for a peaceful and sustainable settlement to the conflict,” Grundberg said in a statement.