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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Sa'ada War Continues in Yemen, No End in Sight, UN Seeks Emergency Aid

 September 17, 2009

Editor's Note:

The following news reports represent one side of the conflict in Yemen, the government side. This Editor does not know of a news source representing the other side, Al-Huthi side, of the conflict.


Some 30 rebels, including leaders, killed

Yemen Observer

By: Nasser Arrabyee:

Sep 17, 2009 - 10:41:53 PM

Al-Houthi rebels from the beginning of the first war according to many citizens frequently target government buildings using force with locals either they join them or they get done away with. Last week, they destroy many grape farms.

A total of 30 al-Houthi rebels were killed and more than 20 were injured in a heavy and seemly decisive battle around the Sa'adah city, military sources said Tuesday.

The sources said that 12 rebels were killed and 15 others were injured in al-Talah area, about 10 km North West of the Sa'adah city.

The rebel leaders, Mahdi Mohammed Amer Oraig and Ali Mahdi Mohammed Uraig were among the dead.

More than 18 rebels were killed and many others injured when they tried to attack the al-Jabal al-Ahmar, which  overlooks  the city of Sa'adah.

Further, the rebel leader, Abdul Muhsen Tawos, known as Abu Adel, was  killed while driving in his vehicle on al-Mahather around the city of Sa'adah.

"Ali Hussein Badr Al Deen Al Houthi and Abu Al Abas were injured in clashes with the troops in Marran area," disclosed military sources, referring to the son of Hussein al-Houthi, the slain founder of the rebellion movement.

The rebels took their injured individuals from al-Khafji area to Bani Muath using four cars.   A workshop for making mines and explosives was destroyed in Haidan, west of Sa'adah, and an ammunition store and two cars packed with weapons were destroyed around the same vicinity.

The Yemeni army was still implementing combing operations until late Tuesday in al-Arkaba, al-Mudeer, Raik, and al-Sarah. 

More than five rebels were arrested in the battles of al-Malahaid, front west of Sa'adah, where the rebels tried to block the highway between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.   Unfortunately, with growing angst over defeat, the al-Houthi rebels have implemented special operations against military and security leader over the last few days.

Two security men were injured Tuesday when the security director of the neighboring province of al-Jawf, Ali Zaid, escaped an assassination attempt planned by al-Houthi supporters in this area.

"The security director survived from that attempt,  but two of his bodyguards were injured," announced al-Jawf governor, Hussein Hazeb.

The colonel Saleh al-Malwi and six of his soldiers were killed  in an ambush made by al-Houthi rebels earlier this week in Harf Sufyan front. 

The president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, attended the funeral of al-Malwi on Monday. He was buried in the cemetery of martyrs in Sana'a.

Sa’ada war continues, no end in sight

By Mohammed Bin Sallam

Yemen Times,

SANA’A, Sep.16 —

The sixth war in Sa’ada and Harf Sufian between the government and the Houthis has entered its second month, and many worry continued fighting will kill or injure thousands more civilians, and soldiers from both sides.

Information from Sa’ada and Amran governorates confirms that battles between the government army and the Houthis are fierce and that the army has launched air strikes on Houthis strongholds. Tribal sources say the attacks have bombarded markets, mosques and vehicles.

A statement issued by Abdul Malek Al-Houthi’s office last Saturday said that fighter planes intensified attacks, and struck 20 villages on Sept. 13 in Sa’ada and Harf Sufian, damaging dozens of houses and mosques.

In addition, the raids killed civilians, including women and children. Some victims are still under debris in Majz and Jum’at Ben Fadhel, according to Al-Houthi’s office.

“The army targeted civilians in air raids in Sa’ada, Harf Sufian and Dammaj from early morning until the evening,” reads the statement.

“At 4 o’clock on Monday morning, fighter planes bombarded Al-Talh, Dhahyan, Aal Humaidan, Aal Mazru’, Aal Saeed, Takhia and Majz areas,” it says. “The air raid targeted citizens’ houses and killed innocents who are still under debris. The number and names of the victims are still unknown.”

Last Sunday, fighter planes launched an air raid on Dhahyan and Majz. The raid left 12 houses destroyed in Dhahyan and others six partially destroyed. In addition, fighter planes struck Aal Saeed village near Dhahyan city, destroyed a mosque and seriously wounded an old man who was sleeping inside the mosque.

In Harf Sufian district in Amran, the air force launched raids last Saturday on Shabareq, Al-Shaqra, Tareq, Ayyan and Al-Surra villages as well as Harf Sufian city.

The Houthis said the intensified air attacks on villages and cities demonstrate the army's failure on the ground.

Observers believe that the air raids indicate that the government is trying to weaken the Houthis forces before launching a wide attack. They pointed out that the government is mobilizing the army in Harf Sufian and Al-Malahidh.

A military source said that fighter planes are still striking villages in Harf Sufian and Sa’ada, whose residents are believed to support the Houthis.

“The air force launched effective strikes against rebellion and terrorism in the Dhahyan, Naqa’a, Matara, Shabareq, Anqan and Thuwaib areas during the past hours,” reads a statement on the Yemeni military Web site.

Raids are targeting Houthi strongholds and many have been killed, said the statement. It said Houthi areas had been destroyed in Dammaj, Aseela, Al-Mahather, Al-Anad, Sunbul Thuwaib, Al-Malahidh and R’ad site as well as Dhahr Al-Hemar area in Sa’ada.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said that conditions of the internally displaced persons in Amran and Sa’ada are serious, although some organizations were able to deliver aid to some camps. The ICRC was able to deliver medical aid to Sa’ada, according to a statement issued last Friday.

The aid included 10 tons of medical supplies, which took five days to deliver due to fierce confrontations along the roads. The supplies are intended to cover the needs of health centers belonging to the ICRC and Yemeni Red Crescent in Sa’ada for the upcoming three months, according to the statement.

The crisis has escalated because of the increasing number of people leaving their homes for camps located away from the battlefield. With the advent of winter, conditions may deteriorate, because the camps already suffer from shortages of food, water, medication and shelter.

UN seeks emergency aid, Yemen crisis deepens

By Heather Murdock

Yemen Times,

SANA’A, Sep.16 —

The United Nations has asked the international community for USD 23.7 million to help relieve the crisis in Yemen, while residents of the isolated and war-torn Sa'ada governorate continue to flee their homes by the thousands.

Displaced people that can find help often take refuge in camps that suffer shortages of food, water, sanitation, electricity and medicine.

"This humanitarian emergency has been neglected by the entire international community outside of Yemen, and also by the media," said Rashid Khalikov, the director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in a press release.

"Widespread deep poverty and previous fighting have stretched people's coping mechanisms to the limit," he added.

The emergency aid request has been pending since Sept. 2, and potential donors are now showing interest, said Khalikov, who toured Yemen this week to better understand the crisis.

He said relief organizations are operating on reserve budgets, or with resources intended for other projects, and that displaced people are in urgent need of supplies.

"[The aid] will have a significant impact in alleviating the suffering of innocent civilians," he said. "We are trying to find a way to reach people outside of the camps."

As many as 150,000 people are displaced, and the numbers are growing as people abandon violent areas, moving sometime two or three times, according to a UN High Commissioner for Refugees report released earlier this week. Most of the adults are women, and many are pregnant or carrying children.

Because much of the fighting is taking place on roads and at checkpoints, many are closed and aid workers are unable to reach the hardest hit areas.

"[Displaced people] have spent three to five days walking in the desert, taking mountainous roads on foot due to the blockage of main roads," reads the report. "They arrived traumatized and exhausted."

Last week, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to both the government and the Houthi opposition, urging them to open the roads to humanitarian groups.

“Government restrictions on aid agencies, the media and human rights groups are putting civilians at extra risk of unlawful attacks by both sides,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division in a press release.

But after a month of war and isolation, the crisis is deepening, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Flash floods, heavy rains and dropping temperatures compounds the suffering of people living in tents, and the weather in expected to get worse in the coming weeks.

"If aid cannot reach the displaced people, it is not clear how they will cope with winter," reads an ICRC report released last week.

Clean water is now dangerously scarce. Yemen is one of the driest countries in the world, according to the ICRC, and when parched areas are hit with a large influx of displaced people, there is not enough water to go around.

Food and fuel prices have also tripled and quadrupled.

Communication to and from Sa'ada town is limited, with phone service only a few hours a day, the war zones are completely cut off. Vital supplies, aid workers, and journalists cannot get in, and there is almost no communication coming out.

"Thousands of people in need of help are stranded with no security and no means of escape," reads the ICRC report. And while the organization has been able to ship supplies and station workers in parts of Sa'ada, they can't get to many areas.

Regional spokesperson, Hicham Hassan said that if aid organizations do not get better access to victims, the suffering will get worse.

"If this persists, the situation will become more critical," he said.

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