As Saudi and UAE Proxies Trade Blows in Southern Yemen, Yemeni Civilians Pay the Price

According to Yemenis in Aden, the victims of the fighting are always Yemeni, not citizens or soldiers from Saudi Arabia or the UAE, and are part of a larger Saudi-UAE strategy to keep Yemen divided

by Ahmed Abdulkareem
September 03rd, 2019

ADEN, YEMEN — In a complicated turn of events, the battle in southern Yemen between opposing factions of the Saudi-led Coalition has sparked a new tragedy, affecting civilians who were already suffering under the four years of war that the Coalition has waged on their country — a war that has killed thousands of their loved ones and led to famine and the spread of disease, and set their country’s already-faltering development back decades.

“The only option for staying safe was to flee,” Jameel, a father of three, told MintPress, as his family, including young children, looked on with fear. MintPress caught up with Jameel and his family as they fled along the rugged al-Rahedah road after being forced to evacuate their home in the Kreter region of Aden on Sunday. “We found no shelter except for the mountains. So we will scatter into the empty places between the rocks.” Jameel’s car was one of the dozens laden with escapees – mostly children and women – on the highway linking the Taiz and Aden governorates.

Thousands of families in Aden, Abyan and Shabwa evacuated their homes to al-Turbah districts in Taiz, al-Mahrah, Sana`a and Marib provinces to escape the mutual ethnic-cleansing campaigns being waged by forces loyal to Saudi-backed former Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the United Arab Emirates-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC). The campaigns come amid an already acute shortage of food, clean drinking water, and medicine

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Ahmed Salem, an internally displaced Yemeni citizen (IDP), told MintPress that his home was raided and he was severely beaten in front of his four children before being given a chance to flee the city. His was one of 6,978 cases of grave human rights violations committed by pro -UAE forces against civilians in the southern Yemeni provinces of Aden, Abyan and Shabwah during the month of August, according to the Yemeni American Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights, an independent human-rights group.

That figure was confirmed by the Amsterdam-based human-rights group Rights Radar, which said in a statement that pro-UAE forces had carried out a campaign of mass arrests and attacks on civilians:

“Field monitors of Rights Radar said that Aden has witnessed a campaign of mass arrests and home attacks committed by the militants of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council against the local residents for political reasons since August 10.”

However, a number of IDPs were not as lucky as Ahmed Salem and were killed while fleeing, while other families were trapped in their homes by fighting, unable to secure food and without medical aid and clean water. “It’s total chaos here. There was fighting in the city all day yesterday. Things appear to have calmed down a bit this morning, but we expect the hostilities to resume at any point,” Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Programme Manager Caroline Seguin said in a statement. Fighting has since resumed since Seguin’s statement was made. In fact, in just one day, 51 people were killed, 10 of them already dead by the time they reached the hospital, according to MSF.

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