United Nations urges Saudi Arabia to grant reporters access to Yemen

Toni Houston
July 21, 2017

Yemeni medical officials say the death toll from a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on fleeing civilians in the province of Taiz has reached 20.

The officials said the toll is expected to rise, with several women and children in critical condition.

UNHCR said it was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the attack and the reported casualties.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen's embattled government.

The coalition, backed by the USA, initially launched an aerial bombing campaign against Shiite Houthi rebels in March 2015 followed by a ground operation.

The UNHCR has said that this attack "demonstrates the extreme danger facing civilians in Yemen, particularly those attempting to flee violence".

"[Children] are facing threats from all sides, they've got the threat of airstrikes from above, which are continuous - just in the past few weeks we've seen [bombs] landing on marketplaces where civilians have been killed", Caroline Anning, senior conflict and humanitarian advocacy adviser at Save the Children, said to the Guardian.

Save the Children has warned that if the United Nations fails to include Saudi-led coalition on this year's list, it will set a risky precedent for other conflicts around the world.

Last month, an air raid on a market in rebel-controlled Saada province, in north Yemen, killed 24 civilians.

According to United Nations officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the country's population has been displaced as a direct result of the conflict.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which includes an increasingly worrisome cholera outbreak, has been characterized as the worst in the world. "UNHCR, as the lead agency for protection under the coordinated humanitarian response in Yemen, has been appealing to parties to the conflict to ensure their utmost in the protection of civilians and the mitigation of suffering".

The coalition, which intervened in the Yemen conflict in 2015 in support of the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, controls the airspace over Yemen and can prevent any flights made without prior permission.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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