July 20–August 2: Another ceasefire fails

With intensified airstrikes, which have killed scores of civilians, along with relentless fighting over the southern port city of Aden, the situation in Yemen has escalated over the past two weeks in the face of continuing international calls for a ceasefire. On July 25, Saudi Arabia announced a unilateral humanitarian pause, scheduled to go into effect the following day, which Yemenis and international observers hoped would provide an opportunity for badly-needed aid to enter the country. This pause, however, was quickly broken by both Saudi-led airstrikes and ground combat, just two hours after it went into effect. Each side blamed the other for violating the respite, echoing the scenario seen on the first day of a previous humanitarian pause. Pro-Houthi/Saleh forces continued their attacks in Aden city, where they shelled the international airport and neighborhoods recently captured by the resistance. Likewise, Coalition airstrikes continued to pound the bases of those forces in Aden and elsewhere.

Just before announcing the planned ceasefire, Saudi planes bombed civilian residences in the Red Sea coast city of Mokha, killing at least 65 people in an attack that Human Rights Watch has called “an apparent war crime.”

In an attempt to “entirely liberate” Aden and advance into other cities, at least 3000 Coalition-trained Yemeni fighters have reportedly been deployed in Aden—one day after Vice President/PM Khaled Bahah briefly visited the city with six other ministers from the Hadi government in exile. The trip was seen as the first step toward restoring the government’s provisional capital. On the same day, President Hadi issued a decree appointing three new advisors. Hadi has also recently announced plans to unite all local resistance groups into the “national army,” a plan that will likely face resistance.

The leader of the Houthi Movement, ‘Abd al-Malik al-Houthi, made a televised speech on August 2, trying to justify his loss of Aden while continuing to defy the Saudi-led coalition.

Although Aden has been the epicenter of Yemen’s civil conflict, other areas including Lahj, Abyan, al-Baydha, Taʻiz and Marib have seen violent clashes between the pro-Houth/Saleh forces and the resistance fighters over the past week.

Missile attacks across the Saudi border have also continued. Pro-Houthi/Saleh units have recently fired tens of missiles at Najran and Jaizan cities, part of what they have described as “the strategic options.” A number of Saudi soldiers were reportedly killed and captured.

In the capital, Sanʻa, the self-proclaimed local chapter of the Islamic State (IS) has, for the first time, attacked a mosque frequented by members of the Isma’ili sect, commonly known as Bohrah, who are seen by some as supportive of Houthis. At least 10 people were killed and wounded.