After Marib attack, Yemeni government threatens to withdraw from Stockholm Agreement
LONDON - Fighting in Yemen has escalated to the point that the country’s internationally recognised government is considering pulling out of the 2018 UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement, which halted military operations in the coastal city of Hodeidah.
The spike in violence in the 5-year-old war came when a Houthi missile attack January 18 that targeted a mosque in a government training camp killed more than 120 Yemeni soldiers. Pro-government forces have carried out retaliatory attacks.
“The recent military escalation by the Houthis, in the presence of the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in Sana’a, is an exploitation of the Stockholm Agreement, the calm in Hodeidah and all peace efforts,” wrote Yemeni Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hadrami. He said the Iran-allied militia was using peace efforts to “fuel their battles.”
“This dysfunctional situation can no longer continue,” Hadrami added.
The Houthi militia attack was described as one of its deadliest incidents since the beginning of military engagement, leading to the Yemeni government to vow revenge.
“The blood of martyrs who died in the treacherous criminal targeting by the Iran-backed Houthi militia will not go in vain,” Abdu Abdullah Magli, spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces, was quoted by the government-run Saba news agency.
The increase in fighting resulted in families fleeing military
exchanges. “The areas of Al Maradah, Al Hamra and Najd Munif are witnessing an exodus of dozens of families from their villages,” Al-Mashhad al-Yemeni news site said, citing witnesses.
Military sources told Al Arabiya television that 80 Houthis had been killed and 100 others captured in fighting in the Nahm area, north-east of Sana’a.
Also, the home of Yemeni lawmaker Mossad Hussein al-Sawadi, was hit with a missile that killed his 32-year-old daughter-in-law and 16-year-old granddaughter, Saba said. The January 22 attack drew the condemnation of Griffiths. “Targeting MPs and civilian areas is unacceptable and against international law,” he tweeted.
Griffiths has been trying to get both sides of the conflict to engage in dialogue. He told Al-Masdar News he was trying to convince the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Houthis for “unconditional talks” on pressing issues, including the “legitimacy, government and the transitional period.”
Griffiths said the missile attack on the government training camp highlighted the fragility of the situation and the need for a speedy political solution.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in support of the Yemeni government intensified air strikes on Yemen’s Nahm district, near the rebel-held capital, Sana’a. Coalition strikes near Sana’a killed at least 35 people, Yemeni security officials told the Associated Press.
The coalition also bombed rebel targets west of Marib province, killing several Houthi fighters and capturing more than 25, Yemeni military officials said.