January 31–February 6: Assassinations continue in Aden, resistance gains ground in San‘a

January 31The Saudi-led coalition announced the formation of a “high-level independent committee” to examine charges of possible abuses against civilians in the conflict. The announcement came days after the AFP reported on a leaked report by the UN Sanctions Committee’s panel of experts, which documented 119 violations of international humanitarian law by the coalition. The formation of the committee has been met with understandable skepticism regarding the objectivity of the coalition’s investigation into its own crimes.

Also on Sunday, influential salafi cleric Samahan Abdel-Aziz was abducted and killed in Aden shortly after delivering a sermon against Al-Qaeda and ISIS. His assassination follows a string of attacks on government officials and local activists in the southern city, which is both the center of the Southern independence movement and the provisional capital of the Hadi government.

February 1 The minister of human rights for Hadi’s government in exile, Azzedine Al-Asbahi, announced preliminary statistics on the war that indicate the death of over 10,000 people, with 15,000 wounded, and 2.5 million displaced since the beginning of last year. In the minister’s interview with Al-Hayat, he states that pro-Houthi forces “have caused the largest societal fracture in Yemen, one that poses the threat of another war that could destroy the fabric of society.”

February 3 Forty Houthi fighters were reportedly killed and 30 captured, as clashes continued in Fardhat Nihm, near San’a. Six pro-Hadi fighters and five civilians were also killed. By Friday, pro-Hadi forces strengthened their hold on Fardhat Nihm, a strategic area northeast of the capital.

Twelve alleged jihadi militants were killed in Shabwah and Abyan governorates late Wednesday night in two airstrikes apparently carried out by US drones. One of those killed was Jalal Bal’idi al-Marqashi, the commander of Ansar al-Shari'ah in Abyan and Shabwah. His death was reportedly mourned by Al-Qaeda members who distributed a statement on his death on social media.

February 6 The World Bank released a report on Saturday February 6 outlining the economic impacts of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Regarding Yemen, the report states that 80% of the country’s population--or 20 million out of a population of 24 million--is now considered poor, an increase of 30% since April 2015, when fighting escalated.