April 15-22: Airstrikes and fighting continue as KSA "ends" 1st phase of bombing

Early last week, the humanitarian crisis facing the Yemeni people was dominating the headlines of the local press coverage, but as of Tuesday, the “abrupt ending” of the so-called Operation Decisive Storm has complicated news coverage. For the Saudi warplanes continue to strike in several parts of Yemen as the civil conflict on the ground expands onto new fronts. On Monday – one day before Saudi Arabia announced the second phase of its campaign in Yemen, dubbed ‘Operation Restoration of Hope’ – a huge explosion rocked the capital Sanʻa, killing at least 25 people and injuring hundreds of others.

The month-long Saudi aerial offensive has been officially reported to have killed at least 915 civilians, including 143 children and 95 women, and wounded 3943 others. In addition to the weeklong power outage across several main cities in the country, public water towers and resources were greatly damaged by the airstrikes in seven Yemeni provinces.

Complicating the already horrific humanitarian situation, Oxfam’s warehouses in Saʻdah were bombed by Saudi airstrikes. A number of Save the Children’s staffers in Sanʻa were injured and their workplace damaged by Monday’s earthquake-like explosion. Aid agencies, including ICRC, continue to warn of serious humanitarian catastrophe in the country.

Despite all that, the Saudi warplanes continue to strike as civil conflicts continue in several fronts between pro-Houthi/Saleh forces and their various opponents.

In the oil-rich province of Marib, clashes continue in western districts, where the power transmitting lines have been knocked out, and repair teams are still unable to reach affected areas.

In the southern port city of Aden, clashes continue in most of its areas as local fighters (including women recruits) are still trying to fight off the pro-Houthi/Saleh forces.

In the central city of Taʻiz, clashes spread through downtown streets and suburbs since the beginning of the past week. Pro-Houthi/Saleh forces have captured the 35th Armored Brigade, which declared its support to President Hadi. The unit has ties to General ‘Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, who is serving as Hadi’s military advisor in Riyadh.

Taking advantage of the Saudi airstrikes, al-Qaeda in the eastern Hadramout Governorate took control of the capital city, al-Mukalla, and captured one of the biggest mechanized military bases, which includes 70 armored tanks.

Failing to restore Hadi to power, Saudi Arabia, however, continues its campaign, while the Houthis continue to engage in clashes with their rivals in the southern cities. The Houthi spokesperson said in a statement that they will engage in political talks only if “the Saudi aggression is completely stopped.”