April 8-14: Airstrike casualties mount, objectives still unmet

As the Saudi air offensive continued last week, the local press coverage continued to spotlight the civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis facing the people, while underlining the coalition’s failure to achieve the stated objectives of its campaign. It’s been three weeks now, and as of Saturday at least 1,200 aerial attacks have been reported. The Saudi airstrikes have so far killed more than 2,500 Yemenis in at least eight Yemeni provinces over 18 days.

In the capital Sanʻa alone, 385 civilians were reportedly killed during the first two weeks. In Taʻiz province, a neighborhood inhabited by Muhammashin (Marginalized People) was hit by an airstrike, killing at least 12 people, including women and children. In Saʻdah province, more than a dozen people were killed by aerial attacks targeting government buildings, homes and gas stations. One airstrike hit a gas station, incinerating at least 12 people and wounding 49 others.

Since the Saudi-led air offensive was launched, Yemenis have been facing a humanitarian crisis as thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded, and more than 120,000 people have been internally displaced. In the conflict-stricken areas aid efforts have been hindered and medical workers have been isolated in hospitals with no medical supplies. Moreover, Yemen’s economic losses during this three-week period have been estimated at over $1 billion. As the sea and air ports have been blockaded, experts warn the crisis will escalate as Yemen is largely dependent on imports.

Moreover, in the eastern province of Marib the power transmitting lines were knocked out as clashes erupted between Houthis and tribal fighters, leaving the capital and other major cities in the dark for three days now. But two reasons were said to be behind the massive power outage across Yemen: the ongoing fighting in Marib and the more long-term shortage of diesel.

While the Saudi-led campaign aims to halt pro-Houthi/Saleh forces advancing on southern cities, those forces continue to take control of key areas in the south, where al-Qaeda enjoys a strong presence. The pro-Houthi/Saleh forces captured Attaq, the provincial capital of the southeastern province Shabwah, last week. In the same area, al-Qaeda was reported to have slaughtered at least 13 soldiers.

On the other hand, the exiled president, ‘Abdu Rabbu Mansur Hadi, named former Prime Minister Khaled Bahah as his Vice-president – a move that was seen as a gambit to strengthen the embattled executive branch. Three days later and after a week of closed-door negations, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the Houthis.