PHOTO: Boys hold twisted metal near homes destroyed by an airstrike near Yemen’s capital Sana’a (Mohammed Hamoud/UNICEF)
The UN has said that almost 2,800 civilians have been killed in Yemen’s civil war since March, with another 5,300 injured.
In February, the Ansar Allah (Houthi) movement seized power in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, forcing the Government of President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi to flee to the southern port city of Aden. As Ansar Allah’s forces advanced south from Sana’a, a Saudi-led coalition began intensive bombing.
The battles have continued without resolution, as Ansar Allah maintain control of Sana’a, the Government continues in Aden, and Al Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula occupy part of the country. There has been advance in talks for a political resolution, with talks adjourned until mid-January, and the Saudi coalition withdrew from the latest ceasefire last weekend.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said on Tuesday that at least 62 civilians were reportedly killed by airstrikes in December, more than twice the number of November. He also cited “alarming information on the alleged use of cluster bombs by coalition forces” in Hajjah Governorate in northwest Yemen.
Colville expressed particular concern at the situation in the central city of Taiz, with almost-uninterrupted fighting since April and strict control of all entry points by Houthi-affiliated Popular Committees limiting access to food and essential supplies. He said health services in Taiz are deteriorating, with Al-Rawdha Hospital, one of the largest still operating, forced to turn patients away.
The official added that more than 4,300 prisoners have reportedly escaped from overcrowded, disease-ridden facilities across the country. More than 40 have been killed by airstrikes and shelling.
He added that, because most courts are no longer functioning, there have been delays in the review of detainees’ cases and thus their release, with many unable to see lawyers and relatives.