Ansarullah movement: Saudi regime-led forces bogged down outside Hudaydah

June 26, 2018 - 17:5

Yemen's Ansarullah (Houthi) movement fighters have dismissed reports that the Saudi regime-led forces have seized the airport in the port city of Hudaydah, saying the aggressors are on the retreat on all front lines.

Militants and foreign mercenaries armed by the House of Saud regime and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are attempting to capture the well-defended city and push the Ansarullah out of their sole Red Sea port in the biggest battle of the war.

“A battle of attrition awaits the Saudi alliance which it cannot withstand. The Saudi coalition will not win the battle in Hudaydah,” Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam told Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV.

The House of Saud regime on Sunday conducted airstrikes on the airport, to support forces attempting to seize it. The official SABA news agency said warplanes carried out five strikes on Hudaydah - a lifeline to millions of Yemenis.

Ground troops including Emiratis, Sudanese and Yemenis have surrounded the main airport compound.

Mohammed al-Sharif, deputy head of Yemen's civil aviation, said images circulated online about the airport had been taken in October 2016.

A fence shown as proof of the airport's capture is actually situated near the al-Durayhimi district, on a piece of land belonging to a Yemeni lawmaker, the official Saba news agency quoted him as saying.

Ahmed Taresh, the head of Hudaydah airport, also denied news of the airport's capture, but said that it has been completely destroyed in airstrikes conducted by the Saudi-led coalition.

Abdulsalam warned that the Saudi regime-UAE offensive against the port city would undermine chances for a peaceful settlement of the Yemen crisis.

The rebuttals came after the media office of the Saudi regime-backed Yemeni forces loyal to ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi said on Twitter that they had “freed Hudaydah international airport from the grip of” the Ansarullah.

Reports on Sunday said the Saudi regime-backed forces had been surrounded in the al-Durayhimi Bayt al-Faqih district and at least 40 Saudi regime mercenaries killed by Yemeni sniper fire over the past two days.

 Al-Mayadeen, meanwhile, cited informed sources as saying that the invading forces had retreated from all fronts in Hudaydah's west.

A Yemeni military source said clashes had left 50 Saudi regime-backed forces dead and destroyed 13 of their armored vehicles in southern Hudaydah.

Yemeni forces have also managed to confiscate a French or American ship off Hudaydah's coast, president of the Ansarullah (Houthi) Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi tweeted.

The UAE, a key member of the Saudi regime-led coalition waging the war on Yemen, launched the Hudaydah assault on Wednesday despite warnings that it would compound the impoverished nation's humanitarian crisis.

Le Figaro newspaper on Saturday reported that French Special Forces were present on the ground in Yemen supporting the operation.
France, along with the United States and Britain, backs the Saudi regime in the Yemen conflict and provides weapons to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the Ansarullah, British and French warships were also on standby on Yemen's western coast to launch missile and aerial attacks on Hudaydah.
Fighting on Saturday closed off the city's northern exit, blocking a key route east to Sana'a and making it harder to transport goods from Yemen's biggest port to mountainous regions.
 World Food Program calls for maintained food flow for Yemen's Hudaydah
Elsewhere, the World Food Program (WFP) has called on all warring parties in Yemen's Hudaydah to maintain a free food flow through the port city.
The WFP’s director for Yemen Stephen Anderson made the call on Saturday, while voicing deep concerns over the humanitarian situation in Hudaydah.
The United Nations agency is appealing “to maintain the free flow of food and fuel and both commercial and humanitarian for the people who need it most,” he said.
Anderson noted that basic needs of those Hudaydah's civilians are not being satisfied, while warning the worsening situation in the port will have a “major impact” on its inhabitants.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also expressed concern over the fighting in and around the, calling for unbroken aid access and protection of health workers present in Yemen.
“We stand with our UN partners to call on all parties to the conflict to protect the port, and allow its uninterrupted functioning. We also call on all parties to protect health workers and their facilities from harm, as well as to ensure unimpeded access for medical teams seeking to treat the wounded,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He added that Hudaydah “an essential lifeline” for Yemen, saying that “more than 70% of all food, essential medicines and healthcare supplies are brought in through this port.”
The Saudi regime-backed coalition is trying to capture the port city in its yet heaviest assault on the country in more than three years. The offensive threatens to cut the lifeline to millions of Yemeni people already struggling with an acute shortage of vital supplies.
The UN has warned that the battle in Hudaydah, which has a population of 600,000, could cost up to 250,000 lives, as well as cutting off aid and other supplies to millions of people.
 UN envoy in Yemen for crisis talks over Hudaydah port
Meantime, the UN envoy for Yemen has arrived in Sanaa for crisis talks on the port city of Hudaydah amid growing fears that fighting between a Saudi regime and Emirati-led coalition and Ansarullah forces will exacerbate a humanitarian crisis.

Martin Griffiths did not make any statement as he landed in the Yemeni capital on Saturday.

He is expected to propose to Ansarullah leaders that they halt fighting and cede control of Hudaydah's vital port - responsible for more than 70 percent of Yemeni imports - to a UN-supervised committee.

Griffiths's arrival came as fighting intensified around Hudaydah's airport amid conflicting claims over its fate.

In a post on Twitter on Saturday, an account associated with the Saudi regime-aligned Yemeni army said the airport had been “freed from the grip of the Houthi militia” and that de-mining operations were ongoing.

 But later on Saturday, Ansarullah-linked civil aviation authorities denied the rebels had lost control over the airport.
The Hudaydah official news agency SABA quoted Mohammed al-Sharif, deputy head of civil aviation, as saying that images circulated online about the airport were taken in 2016 and that a fence shown as the airport fence was in fact situated on a piece of land belonging to a lawmaker.

(Source: agencies)

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