The National, SANAA — Civilian deaths in the Yemen conflict have been mounting with more than 200 people killed and more than 500 wounded in four months, including 50 in one week, the United Nations’ human rights office said on Friday.
But it was the Houthi rebels that were more at fault. Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said this month and last had witnessed the worst incidents, with eight children killed in a rocket attack in the city of Marib on July 5.
While both sides bore responsibility, Ms Shamdasani said: “the number of casualties attributable to air strikes fell dramatically and it was the shelling, the rocket fire, the indiscriminate killings by the Houthis which rose considerably “.
Since March last year, a Saudi-led military coalition, which includes armed forces from the UAE, has battled Houthi rebels, who deposed the internationally-recognised president, Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, and occupied the capital, Sanaa.
The UN negotiated a truce in April to allow peace talks to begin. They continued on and off for three months but ended recently in Kuwait with no progress.
Dozens of civilians have been killed by Houthi shelling and coalition air strikes since Monday, including three women working at a potato chip factory near a military base that was hit by an air raid on Tuesday.
Saudi-led coalition jets bombed rebel positions in Sanaa yesterday, wounding six civilians. Air strikes hit a presidential compound and military base in Sanaa early yesterday and wounded six farmers on a road west of the capital, said local residents.
Mr Hadi was forced to flee Yemen to Saudi Arabia as Houthi forces advanced on his headquarters in Aden in March 2015.The war has left half the 27 million population of Yemen with no access to health care and around 80 per cent in need of some form of aid.