UN: Fighting in Yemen drops since Saudi-brokered agreement

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Coalition troops near the Red Sea coast in 2017. Saudi Arabia says it wants a political solution to the Yemen conflict. (AFP/File photo)
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Griffiths told the UN Security Council that in the last two weeks the rate of the war had dramatically reduced. (AFP/File photo)
Updated 23 November 2019

UN: Fighting in Yemen drops since Saudi-brokered agreement

  • Special envoy Martin Griffiths said that in the last two weeks the rate of the war had dramatically reduced
  • Griffiths thanked Saudi Arabia’s leaders for brokering the agreement between government and separatists

RIYADH: Violence in Yemen has significantly dropped in the last two weeks, the UN’s special envoy to the country said Friday. 

The comments by Martin Griffiths to the security council come after the Yemeni government and southern separatists signed a Saudi-brokered power sharing agreement earlier this month.

While both parties are part of a coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi militia, many hoped the deal could pave the way to a broader agreement to end fighting in the country. 

On Wednesday, King Salman said the agreement could open the door to broader peace talks and that the Kingdom sought a political settlement.

 

 

Griffiths said that in the last two weeks the rate of the war had dramatically reduced.

“We call this de-escalation, a reduction in the tempo of the war and perhaps, we hope, a move towards an overall ceasefire in Yemen.”

He said their had been dramatic reductions in the number of airstrikes and missile and drone attacks and that the number of security incidents in Hodeidah, the key port which became the main hub of the conflict, had significantly reduced.

“In the last two weeks, there were almost 80 percet fewer airstrikes nation-wide than in the two weeks prior," Griffiths said. "In recent weeks, there have been entire 48-hour periods without airstrikes for the first time since the conflict began."

He added that the Houthis had also stopped firing missiles and exploding drones into Saudi Arabia.

Griffiths thanked the Kingdom’s leaders for the role they played in brokering the agreement between the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council after fighting erupted between their forces in the summer.

He said the clashes had made a further break up of the country very real, something he described as terrifying.”

Griffiths said Mohammed bin Salman “very positive about the prospects of a comprehensive, peaceful resolution to the conflict in Yemen” when they met two weeks ago.

The crown prince was clear Saudi Arabia will “support efforts to make this happen and happen soon,” Griffiths said. 

The war in Yemen started after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 from the internationally recognized government and launched an offensive across the country. A coalition including Saudi Arabia and the UAE intervened in 2015 after the militants invaded the city of Aden.


11 US troops injured in Iran missile attack in Iraq: US military

Updated 17 January 2020

11 US troops injured in Iran missile attack in Iraq: US military

  • Spokesman for US Central Command Captain Bill Urban said several troops were treated for concussion symptoms
  • Strike caused significant material damage

WASHINGTON: At least 11 American troops were injured in an Iranian attack on an Iraqi base where American soldiers were deployed, US Central Command said Thursday, although the US military had previously maintained there were no casualties.

“While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al-Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” US Central Command spokesman Captain Bill Urban said in a statement.

At the time of the attack, most of the 1,500 US soldiers at the base had been tucked away in bunkers, after advance warning from superiors.

The strike caused significant material damage but no casualties, according to previous reports from the US military.

US President Donald Trump also said on the morning following the volley that “no American were harmed in last night’s attack.”

However, Urban said that “in the days following the attack, out of an abundance of caution, some service members were transported from Al-Asad Air Base.”

“At this time, eight individuals have been transported to Landstuhl, and three have been transported to Camp Arifjan,” he said, referring to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

In addition to the sprawling Ain Al-Asad air base in western Iraq, Iran’s missiles also targeted a base in Irbil, housing both American and other foreign troops deployed in a US-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State jihadist group.

“When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening,” Urban said.