May 27-June 2: Despite continuing negotiations, no end to fighting in sight

The last week’s press coverage has chiefly focused on the continuous Saudi-led air war and the civil conflict on the ground, along with the cross-border attacks by pro-Houthi fighters. Also, the political talks in Oman and the UN-backed efforts in both Sanʻa and Riyadh have grabbed several headlines. The Saudi air war is now in its third month, and seems to be no closer to its stated goals of forcing a Houthi retreat and returning Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi to power. Nearly 2000 people have so far been killed by this aerial war and the civil conflict, while 8,000 more have been injured. At least 10,000 Yemenis have sought refuge in Djibouti.

Aid agencies, which couldn’t bring in sufficient supplies during the first “humanitarian pause,” continue to voice their serious concerns over the catastrophic health situation. At least 158 health facilities have been shut down due to the war, while several others were struck by Saudi warplanes. Nearly 8.6 million people urgently need medical care, and local experts say roughly 13 million Yemenis urgently need aid of some kind. Yemen’s patrimony is also reportedly being ravaged by the airstrikes, including Dhamar’s historical museum and the Marib Dam.

Clashes between the pro-Saleh/pro-Houhti forces and their various opponents have continued to intensify in four Yemeni cities: Aden Taʻiz, Marib and Shabwa.

In the eastern Marib, more than a dozen Houthi/Saleh fighters were killed in Sirwah district and seven civilians were reportedly killed in the fighting. In Aden, clashes intensified in several districts including Khor Maksar, near the airport. In the central city of Taʻiz, the fighting downtown and the Saudi airstrikes have killed civilians after the pro-Houthi/Saleh forces captured a strategic mountain, home to the ancient and famous al-Qahirah Fortress. In the southeastern Shabwah Governorate, the Houthi/Saleh forces have advanced in the city and gained new areas. On the borders with Saudi Arabia, pro-Houthi fighters hit Najran’s airport along with military bases there and in Jaizan city as well. Their TV Channel, al-Masirah, aired footage of new, locally-produced missiles called “Earthquake.”

As the UN-sponsored conference in Geneva was postponed indefinitely, the Houthi delegates continued their talks in Oman over the past week, which are believed to involve US and Iranian officials. The delegates were reported to have reached an initial agreement to end the war in Yemen. But the exiled government in Riyadh rejected such an agreement, saying that “such talks will not make stability possible in Yemen.” The rival political parties seemed to have agreed on holding the Geneva conference in two weeks, following the UN envoy’s meeting on Monday with the exiled government in Riyadh – three days after he visited Sanʻa for the second time.