Saudi-led intervention in the Yemeni civil war

On 26 March 2015, Saudi Arabia, leading a coalition of nine countries from West Asia and North Africa, launched an intervention in Yemen at the request of Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had been ousted from the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014 by Houthi insurgents during the Yemeni Civil War. Efforts by the United Nations to facilitate a power sharing arrangement under a new transitional government collapsed, leading to escalating conflict between government forces, Houthi rebels, and other armed groups, which culminated in Hadi fleeing to Saudi Arabia shortly before it began military operations in the country.

Saudi-led intervention in Yemen
Part of the Yemeni civil war and the Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict

An airstrike in Sanaʽa on 11 May 2015
Current (February 2024) political and military control in the ongoing Yemeni civil war
  Southern Transitional Council and other UAE-backed groups
  Local, non-aligned forces such as the Hadhramaut Tribal Alliance
(See also a detailed map)
Date26 March 2015 – ongoing
(9 years, 3 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
  • Operation Decisive Storm
    26 March – 21 April 2015
    (3 weeks and 6 days)
  • Operation Restoring Hope
    22 April 2015 – present
    (9 years, 3 months and 3 days)
Status Ongoing

Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia[1]
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates[2][3][4]
 Sudan (2015–19)[2]
 Qatar (2015–17)[2]
 Morocco (2015–19)[2][7]
Academi contractors[10]
Saudi-paid Yemeni mercenaries[12]
Supported by:
 United States[13][14][15]

 United Kingdom[c]
In support of:
Yemen Republic of Yemen (Presidential Leadership Council)

Yemen Revolutionary Committee/Supreme Political Council

Commanders and leaders

Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia Fahd bin Turki Al Saud (2015–20)
Saudi Arabia Mutlaq bin Salem bin Mutlaq Al-Azima[32]
United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah #
Kuwait Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah #
Kuwait Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (2015–17)
Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Sudan Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (2015–19)
Jordan Abdullah II
Morocco Mohamed VI (2015–19)
Senegal Macky Sall

Yemen Rashad al-Alimi (2022–)
Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi (2015–22)
Yemen Mohammed al-Maqdashi
Yemen Gen. Ali al-Ahmar[33]
Yemen Gen. Abd Rabbo Hussein [34]
Yemen Gen. Ahmad Al-Yafei [35]

Yemen Mohammed Ali al-Houthi
Yemen Mohamed al-Atifi (2016–)
Yemen Mahdi al-Mashat (2018–)
Yemen Saleh Ali al-Sammad  (2015–18)
Yemen Hussein Khairan (2015–16)

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi
Khalid Batarfi
Ibrahim al Qosi[36]

Saudi Arabia 100 warplanes and 150,000 troops[37]
United Arab Emirates 30 warplanes and 15,000 troops[38][39]
Sudan 4 warplanes[citation needed] and 15,000 troops[40]
Bahrain 15 warplanes[41] 300 troops[42]
Kuwait 15 warplanes[41]
Qatar 10 warplanes, 1,000 troops[41][43] (until 2017)
Egypt 4 warships[44] and warplanes[45]
Jordan 6 warplanes[41]
Morocco 6 warplanes, 1,500 troops[41][46]
Senegal 2,100 troops[9] (soldiers not yet deployed in 2016)[8]

Academi: 1,800 security contractors[47]

150,000–200,000 fighters[48]


Casualties and losses

Saudi Arabia 1,000[53]–3,000[54] soldiers killed by 2016;
10 captured[55]
United Arab Emirates 108–130 soldiers killed[56][57]
Sudan 1,000 - 4,000 soldiers killed[58][59]
Bahrain 15 soldiers killed[60][61][62]
1 F-16 crashed[63]
Qatar 4 soldiers killed[64][65]
Morocco 10 soldiers killed[66][67]
1 F-16 shot down[68][67]
Jordan 1 F-16 lost[69]
Academi: 71 mercenaries killed[11]

Yemen Unknown

Thousands killed (Aljazeera; as of May 2018)[70]

11,000+ killed (Arab Coalition claim; as of Dec. 2017)[71]


12,907 Yemeni civilians killed (per the LCRD)
8,672 civilians killed, 9,741 injured by coalition's airstrikes (per Yemen Data Project)[73]
500+ Saudi civilians killed (2014–2016)[74][75]
377,000+ people killed overall (150,000+ from violence) (2014–2021) (UN)[76]
  1. ^ soldiers not yet deployed in 2016[8]
  2. ^ logistic support and assistance with the naval blockade of Houthi-held territories in October 2016[16][17][18]
  3. ^ training, intelligence, logistical support, weapons, and blockade up to 2017[20][21][22][23]
  4. ^ Under the Presidential Leadership Council since April 2022

The first month of the intervention, codenamed Operation Decisive Storm (Arabic: عملية عاصفة الحزم, romanizedAmaliyyat 'Āṣifat al-Ḥazm), consisted of airstrikes on Houthi rebels and a full blockade[77] On 22 April, the Saudi-led coalition declared that it had achieved its initial goals and announced Operation Restoring Hope, which would comprise a "combination of political, diplomatic and military action" while continuing "to prevent the Houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside Yemen".[78] Ground forces were subsequently deployed into the country[79] as part of a broader offensive against both Houthi militants and loyalists of Hadi's predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh.[80] Owing to Iran's support of these factions, the conflict is widely regarded as part of the broader Saudi-Iran proxy conflict.

Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates have provided air and ground forces, while Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Constellis have headed several ground operations. Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia opened their airspace, territorial waters, and military bases to coalition forces.[81] At varying stages, the intervention has been backed by the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada. The U.S. provided intelligence and logistical support, such as aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots,[82] accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states,[83] and continued strikes against AQAP. In 2016, American and British military officials were confirmed to have provided advice and training related to Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen.[84][85][86]

The intervention has received widespread international criticism for killing thousands of noncombatants, destroying civilian infrastructure, and intensifying Yemen's humanitarian crisis.[87][23] Academics also dispute whether it violates Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.[88][89][90] By 2019, the conflict was reported as a "military stalemate",[91] and the following year, Saudi Arabia declared its first unilateral ceasefire.[92][93] On 29 March 2022, the Saudi-led coalition announced that it would cease all hostilities within Yemen to facilitate political talks and peacekeeping efforts;[94] Houthi and Saudi officials subsequently began bilateral peace talks mediated by Oman under UN auspices, and most restrictions on commercial goods were lifted by April 2023.[95] As of April 2024, open hostilities have largely ceased, though negotiations are ongoing due to complications caused by Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping since October 2023.[95]



Saudi-backed Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, running unopposed as the only candidate for president, won the 2012 Yemeni elections.[96] Since August 2014, the Houthis (or Ansar Allah), a Zaidi Shia movement and militant group backed by Iran, dissatisfied with Hadi government's decisions and the new constitution, arranged mass protests which culminated into their takeover of the Yemeni government in 2015, declaring victory of the revolution and drafting a new constitution when the term of Hadi's provisional government had already expired. Saudi Arabia and other countries denounced this as an unconstitutional coup d'état.[97] The Houthis were supported by sections of the Yemeni armed forces loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was removed from power as part of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and ironically assassinated later on by his Houthi allies.[98][99]

By September 2014, Houthi fighters captured Sanaʽa, toppling Hadi's government. Soon after, a peace deal (known as the 'Peace and Partnership Agreement') was sealed between the Hadi government and the Houthis, but was not honored by either party. The deal was drafted with the intent of defining a power-sharing government. A conflict over a draft constitution resulted in the Houthis consolidating control over the Yemeni capital in January 2015. After resigning from his post alongside his prime minister and remaining under virtual house arrest for one month, Hadi fled to Aden in southern Yemen in February.[100][101] Upon arriving in Aden, Hadi withdrew his resignation, saying that the actions of the Houthis from September 2014 had amounted to a "coup" against him.[102][103] By 25 March, forces answering to Sanaʽa were rapidly closing in on Aden, which Hadi had declared to be Yemen's temporary capital.[104]

During the Houthis' southern offensive, Saudi Arabia began a military buildup on its border with Yemen.[105] In response, a Houthi commander boasted that his troops would counterattack against any Saudi aggression and would not stop until they had taken Riyadh, the Saudi capital.[106]

On 25 March, Hadi called on the UN Security Council to authorise "willing countries that wish to help Yemen to provide immediate support for the legitimate authority by all means and measures to protect Yemen and deter the Houthi aggression".[107]

Yemen's foreign minister, Riad Yassin, requested military assistance from the Arab League on 25 March, amid reports that Hadi had fled his provisional capital.[108][109] On 26 March, Saudi state TV station Al-Ekhbariya TV reported that Hadi arrived at a Riyadh airbase and was met by Saudi Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud. His route from Aden to Riyadh was not immediately known.[110]

At a summit of the Arab League held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 28–29 March, President Hadi again repeated his calls for international intervention in the fighting. A number of League members pledged their support to Hadi's government during that meeting.[111][112]

After more than seven years of hostilities that left thousands of civilians dead or injured and devastated Yemen, a surprise deal was agreed between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran in March 2023. The deal aimed to restore diplomatic relations that could end the Saudi war in Yemen. Experts raised a warning that the war could worsen instead of ending, if Saudi Arabia agrees to end military operations.[113]

Operation Decisive Storm


According to the Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya, Saudi Arabia contributed 100 warplanes and 150,000 soldiers to the military operation. Several media agencies reported that planes from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain were taking part.[114][115][116][41][117][118][excessive citations] Egypt had previously sent four warships supporting the Saudi naval blockade.[119]

The operation was declared over on 21 April 2015.[120]

Air campaign


March 2015


In March 2015, in a joint statement, the member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (with the exception of Oman) said they had decided to intervene against the Houthis at the request of Hadi's government.[121]

The coalition declared Yemeni airspace to be a restricted area, with King Salman declaring the RSAF to be in full control of the zone.[41] Saudi Arabia began airstrikes, reportedly relying on US intelligence reports and surveillance images to select and hit targets, including weapons, aircraft[122] on the ground and air defences.[123] Al Jazeera reported that Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a Houthi commander appointed in February as president of the Revolutionary Committee, was injured and three other Houthi commanders were killed by airstrikes in Sanaʽa.[124]

Strikes on 26 March also hit Al Anad Air Base, a former US special operations forces facility in Lahij Governorate seized by Houthis earlier in the week.[125] The targets reportedly included the Houthi-controlled missile base in Sanaʽa and its fuel depot.[126] Strikes overnight also targeted Houthis in Taiz and Sa'dah. Thousands demonstrated in Sanaʽa against the intervention, which ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh also condemned. In Taiz thousands came out supporting Hadi and Saudi Arabia.[127]

The scope of strikes expanded further on 27 March, with a radar installation in the Marib Governorate and an airbase in the Abyan Governorate coming under air attack. The commander of the operation dismissed reports of civilian casualties, saying airstrikes were being carried out with precision.[128] Additional strikes early on the next day hit targets in Al Hudaydah, Sa'dah and the Sanaʽa area, as well as Ali Abdullah Saleh's main base. Rumours indicated Saleh fled to Sanhan, on the outskirts of the Houthi-controlled capital.[129] An Aden government official said Saudi strikes destroyed a long-range missile facility controlled by the Houthis.[130]

The Houthis claimed to have shot down a Sudanese Air Force plane over northern Sanaʽa and captured its pilot on 28 March. The Sudanese government denied that any of its four warplanes had come under fire or been shot down.[117] On the previous day, the Houthis claimed to have shot down a "hostile" Saudi drone in Sanaʽa.[131]

Airstrikes hit an arms depot, military airbase and special forces headquarters in Sanaʽa early on 29 March. A weapons depot outside Sanaʽa was destroyed, causing damage to an airport and planes on the ground. Sa'dah and Al Hudaydah were targeted as well. Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, the coalition's spokesman, said Saudi artillery and Apache attack helicopters were mobilised to "deter" Houthi fighters massing on the border with Saudi Arabia.[132]

On 30 March, at least 40 people including children were killed and 200 were injured[133] by an airstrike that hit Al-Mazraq refugee camp near a military installation in northern district of Haradh, international organizations said. Airstrikes also hit areas near the presidential palace in Sanaʽa,[134] as well as Aden International Airport.[135]

Food storage of Yemen Economic Corporation in Hodeidah was destroyed by three coalition strikes on 31 March.[136] Airstrikes were not limited to the Yemeni mainland. Missiles struck homes on the island of Perim, according to residents who fled by boat to Djibouti.[137]

April 2015

Destruction in Sana'a after air strike on 20 April 2015
Destruction in the residential neighborhoods near mountain Attan
Destroyed shopping center

Dozens of casualties came from an explosion in a dairy and oil factory in Al Hudaydah, which was variously blamed on an airstrike or a rocket from a nearby military base on 1 April. Medical sources reported 25 deaths, while the Yemen Army said 37 were killed and 80 wounded.[138] Airstrikes also hit targets in Sa'dah on 1 April.[139]

Despite persistent airstrikes, Houthi and allied units continued to advance on central Aden, backed by tanks and heavy artillery.[140][141] Houthis seized the presidential palace on 2 April, but reportedly withdrew after overnight air raids early the next day.[142] Coalition planes also airdropped weapons and medical aid to pro-Hadi fighters in Aden.[143]

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced on 5 April that it had received permission from the coalition to fly medical supplies and aid workers into Sanaʽa and was awaiting permission to send a surgical team by boat to Aden. The coalition said it had set up a special body to coordinate aid deliveries to Yemen.[144]

On 6 April, airstrikes began before sunset and struck targets in western Sanaʽa, Sa'dah and the Ad Dali' Governorate, a supply route for Houthis in the Battle of Aden.[145]

Airstrikes on 7 April hit a Republican Guard base in the Ibb Governorate, injuring 25 troops. Yemeni sources claimed three children at a nearby school were killed by the attack,[146] while six were injured.[147]

The Parliament of Pakistan voted against military action on 10 April, despite a request from Saudi Arabia that it join the coalition.[148]

Airstrikes launched on 12 April, against the base of the 22nd Brigade of the Yemeni Republican Guard in the Taiz Governorate struck both the brigade and a nearby village inhabited by members of the Al-Akhdam minority community, killing eight civilians and injuring more than ten others.[149] On 17 April, both the GCC coalition's spokesman called by Saudi broadcaster Al-Ehkbariya TV and a commander of the pro-Hadi rebels on the ground said airstrikes had intensified, focusing on both Sanaʽa and Taiz.[150] One strike on the Republican Palace in Taiz killed 19 pro-Houthi gunmen.[151]

Ethnoreligious groups in 2002. Zaydi Shi'a followers make up between 35% and 42.1% of Muslims in Yemen.[152]

Egypt and Saudi Arabia committed warships to support coalition operations.[153] Somalia offered its airspace and territorial waters.[81] Four Egyptian Navy vessels steamed toward the Gulf of Aden after operations began.[125] Riyadh requested access to Somali airspace and waters to carry out operations.[154] On 27 March, the Egyptian military said a squadron of Egyptian and Saudi warships took up positions at the Bab al-Mandab strait.[128] The Saudi military threatened to destroy any ship attempting to make port.[155]

The Royal Saudi Navy evacuated diplomats and United Nations staff from Aden to Jeddah on 28 March.[156]

Witnesses told Reuters that Egyptian warships bombarded Houthi positions as they attempted to advance on Aden on 30 March.[157] Warships again fired on Houthi positions at Aden International Airport on or about 1 April.[139]

Djibouti foreign minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf said the Houthis placed heavy weapons and fast attack boats on Perim and a smaller island in the Bab al-Mandab strait. He warned that "the prospect of a war in the strait of Bab al-Mandab is a real one" and said the weapons posed "a big danger" to his country, commercial shipping traffic, and military vessels. He called on the coalition to clear the islands, which he said included missiles and long-range cannons.[158]

On 4 April, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called protecting Red Sea shipping and securing the Bab al-Mandab "a top priority for Egypt's national security".[159]

On 15 April, coalition spokesman Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Asiri, said that its warships were focusing on protecting shipping routes and screening ships heading to port for shipments intended for the Houthis.[160]

The US Navy provided support to the naval blockade, halting and searching vessels suspected of carrying Iranian arms to the Houthis.[161] On 21 April, the United States announced it was deploying warships to Yemeni waters to monitor Iranian ships.[162] The US in particular noted a convoy of Iranian vessels, which US authorities said could potentially be carrying weapons to Houthi fighters in contravention of UN sanctions.[163] The US reported that the Iranian convoy reversed course on 23 April.[164]

Ground clashes


Sudan said it was stationing ground troops in Saudi Arabia.[165] The Special Forces of the Bahrain Defence Force, Taskforce 11, were also deployed to Yemen.[166]

Between 31 March and April, Saudi and Houthi forces reportedly traded artillery and rocket fire across the border between SA and Yemen.[135][167] A Saudi border guard was killed on 2 April, the campaign's first confirmed coalition casualty.[168] Followed by another two soldiers killed the next day.[169] An Egyptian truck driver was killed by Houthi shelling.[170]

SA reportedly began removing sections of the Saudi–Yemen barrier fence along its border with the Sa'dah and Hajjah governorates on 3 April. The purpose of the removal was not immediately clear.[171]

On 12 April, members of the Takhya tribe launched an attack on a Saudi base after several of its members died in an airstrike. Weapons and ammunition were taken.[172][173][174]

On 19 April, as Houthi leader Abdul-Malek El-Houthi accused SA of planning to invade Yemen,[175] Asiri claimed that coalition forces had information regarding a planned Houthi incursion into SA.[176] A Saudi border guard died on 19 April and two others were injured from gunfire and mortar shelling across the border.[177]

Operation Restoring Hope

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in September 2015.

On 21 April 2015, the Saudi Defence Ministry declared it was ending the campaign of airstrikes because it had "successfully eliminated the threat" to its security posed by Houthi ballistic and heavy weaponry.[178] It announced the start of a new phase codenamed Operation Restoring Hope.[179] In a televised address, Hadi said the end of airstrikes had come at his request and thanked the Arab coalition for their support.[180]

Earlier that day King Salman ordered the Saudi National Guard to join the military operation.[181] Air and naval strikes continued despite the announcement that Decisive Storm had ended.

Both the Omani[182] and Iranian[180][183] governments said they welcomed the end of airstrikes. On 22 April, Oman presented a seven-point peace deal to both parties. The proposed peace treaty entailed the reinstatement of Hadi's government and the evacuation of Houthi fighters from major cities.[182]

Outside intervention

On 8 May, Saudi Arabia announced a five-day ceasefire set to start on 12 May,[184] following heavy pressure from the US.[185] Later in the day, Saudi airplanes dropped leaflets in the Saada Governorate warning of airstrikes throughout the area.[186] Houthi spokesman Mohamed al-Bukhaiti later told the BBC that the ceasefire had not been formally proposed and the Houthis would not respond until a plan was properly laid out.[187] A spokesman for the Houthi-aligned military announced agreement to the ceasefire plan on 10 May, although he warned that a breach of the truce would prompt a military response.[188]

On 13 May, humanitarian agencies said they were trying to get aid into Yemen after a five-day ceasefire took effect on Tuesday night. Ships carrying humanitarian supplies docked at the Houthi-controlled Red Sea port of Hudaydah as planes were standing by to help evacuate the injured.[189] Meanwhile, King Salman doubled his country's Yemen aid pledge to $540 million, funds the UN said would "meet the life-saving and protection needs of 7.5 million people affected".[190]



At the operation's announcement, coalition leadership stressed that their campaign would attempt a political solution and that they would continue the air and naval blockade.[191] Airstrikes resumed almost immediately following the coalition's announcement of the end of Operation Decisive Storm.[192]

On 22 April airstrikes continued in Taiz, where an army base was hit shortly after Houthi fighters took it over,[193] and Aden, where an airstrike targeted Houthi tanks moving into a contested district,[194] among other locations, such as Al Hudaydah and Ibb.[195] The Houthis continued to fight for territory,[193] with a Houthi spokesman saying the group would be prepared for peace talks on the condition of "a complete halt of attacks". The previous round of UN-sponsored talks collapsed after Houthi rebels attacked Hadi's residence in Sanaʽa.[196]

By 26 April, coalition forces were striking what they described as Houthi military targets in Sanaʽa and Aden and in other locations, notably in Sa'ada province near the Saudi border, nearly every night.[197][198] On 26 April, after midnight, airstrikes struck Houthi and pro-Saleh positions and targets in and around Sanaʽa, Aden, and the Marib and Ad Dali' governorates, backing up anti-Houthi fighters in the latter three locations, with more than 90 rebels reportedly killed.[199] Coalition warships shelled fighters near Aden's commercial port. Saudi warplanes also targeted Houthis in the Sa'dah Governorate, while Saudi artillery fired on targets in the Hajjah Governorate along the border.[200] The Saudi National Guard was deployed on the border.[201]

On 28 April, Sanaʽa International Airport was bombed[202] by Saudi F-15 fighters to prevent an Iranian plane[203] belonging to Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) from landing, while it was approaching to land. The fighters had warned the plane to turn back, in an unsuccessful attempt to thwart its landing, but the Iranian pilot ignored the "illegal warnings", saying that, on the basis of international law, his plane did not need further permission to land.[204]

On the night of 6 May 2015, the Saudi-led coalition carried out 130 airstrikes in Yemen in a 24-hour period. At first, coalition spokesperson Ahmed Asiri admitted that schools and hospitals were targeted but claimed that these were used as weapon storage sites. Asiri later claimed that his words had been mistranslated. The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Johannes Van Der Klaauw said that these bombings constituted a war crime. "The indiscriminate bombing of populated areas, with or without prior warning, is a contravention international humanitarian law," he said. He continued to say that he was particularly concerned about airstrikes on Saada "where scores of civilians were reportedly killed and thousands were forced to flee their homes after the coalition declared the entire governate a military target".[205]

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir announced a five-day ceasefire in Yemen, 8 May 2015.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Saudi chargé d'affaires, and the Iranian Parliament and the Iranian Red Crescent Society blasted Saudi Arabia for blocking Iranian humanitarian aid.[206][207]

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) "strongly urged" the coalition to stop targeting airports and seaports so that aid could reach all Yemenis.[208][209]

ICRC and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, said that they were extremely concerned about damage to the airports at Sanaa and to the port city of Hodeidah.[208]

Overnight on 29 and 30 April, SA was reported to have airdropped arms to anti-Houthi fighters in Taiz.[210]

On 30 April airstrikes hit five provinces.[210] New airstrikes hit SIA, completely halting aid deliveries.[211]

An airstrike in Sanaʽa, 11 May 2015

On 6 May coalition airstrikes targeted the Police Training Center in the Dhamar Governorate, damaging nearby houses[212] meanwhile the civil aviation authority announced it would re-open the airport to receive aid.[213]

Coalition airstrikes targeted the houses of Saleh in Sanaʽa in the early hours of 10 May, eyewitnesses said. Khabar, a Yemeni news agency allied with Saleh said that the former president and his family were unharmed.[214]

The Moroccan government said on 10 May that one of its General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft taking part in the air campaign went missing in action over Yemen, along with its pilot.[215] The Houthis claimed responsibility, with Yemeni state TV broadcasting a report on the jet being downed by tribal militias over the Sa'dah Governorate and showing images of the wreckage.[216]

On 18 May Saudi-led airstrikes reportedly resumed on Houthi positions after a humanitarian ceasefire expired late on Sunday. Three coalition airstrikes hit Sa'ada on Monday. Yemen's exiled Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin blamed the rebel group for the renewal of hostilities. Al-Arabiya said Saudi forces shelled Houthi outposts along Yemen's northern border after the fighters fired mortars at a Saudi army post in Najran province.[217]

On 23 May OCHA reported that airstrikes continued in the northern governorates of Sa'ada (Baqim, Haydan, Saqayn and As Safra) and Hajjah (Abs, Hayran, Haradh, Huth, Kuhlan Affar and Sahar districts). The road connecting Haradh and Huth districts was reportedly hit. Airstrikes were also reported in Al Jawf Governorate (Bart Al Anan district).[218]

On 27 May airstrikes hit a police station in the capital, Sanaʽa, killing 45 officers.[219] The Houthi-controlled Ministry of Health announced that in total, 96 people were killed.

On 3 June the residence of a Houthi leader in Ibb province was hit by an airstrike, according to eyewitnesses.[220]

Destruction in the south of Sana'a (12 June 2015)
Destroyed house
Destroyed car

On 12 June Saudi jets bombed the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sanaʽa Old City, killing at least six people and destroying some of the ancient buildings. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said in a statement that she is "profoundly distressed by the loss of human lives as well as by damage inflicted on one of the world's oldest jewels of Islamic urban landscape". Locals also condemned the action.[221]

On 23 September 2015, the Saudi-led coalition destroyed a ceramics factory in the town of Matnah. One civilian was killed and others were wounded. According to the BBC, the bomb is believed to have been produced in the United Kingdom by GEC-Marconi Dynamics.[222] The factory's owner Ghalib al-Sawary told the BBC: "We built it over 20 years but to destroy it took only twenty minutes."[223] Campaigners say this attack was a violation of the laws of war.

On 26 October 2015 Médecins Sans Frontières reported that a coalition airstrike had completely destroyed a hospital they ran in Saada province's Haydan governorate, including the operating room. When the first strike hit an unused part of the hospital the facility was completely evacuated, so there were no direct casualties. A spokesman for the coalition forces, Brig-Gen Ahmed al-Asiri, denied responsibility for the attack.[224] "With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care," MSF said. "This attack is another illustration of a complete disregard for civilians in Yemen, where bombings have become a daily routine," said Hassan Boucenine, MSF head of mission in Yemen. The GPS coordinates of the only hospital in the Haydan district were regularly shared with the Saudi-led coalition, and the roof of the facility was clearly identified with the MSF logo, he said.[225] UNICEF said the hospital in Saada was the 39th health center hit in Yemen since March, when the violence escalated. "More children in Yemen may well die from a lack of medicines and healthcare than from bullets and bombs," its executive director Anthony Lake said in a statement. He added that critical shortages of fuel, medication, electricity and water could mean many more will close. Amnesty International said the strike may amount to a war crime and called for an independent investigation.[226][227]

In February 2016, the Saudis bombed the ancient citadel of Kawkaban, killing seven civilians.[228]

On 8 October 2016, Saudi-led airstrikes targeted a hall in Sanaʽa where a funeral was taking place. At least 140 people were killed and about 600 were wounded. According to The Independent, one rescuer said: "The place has been turned into a lake of blood."[229] After initially denying it was behind the attack, the Coalition's Joint Incidents Assessment Team admitted that it had bombed the hall but claimed that this attack had been a mistake caused by bad information.[230] After this attack, US national security spokesperson said that the US government was "deeply disturbed" by the bombing and added that US support for the Saudi-led coalition was "not a blank cheque". He added "we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition."[229] The United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said he was "shocked and outraged" by the "horrific" bombing. "This violence against civilians in Yemen must stop," he said.[229]

On the night of 15 February 2017, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a funeral reception near Sanaa. Initial reports suggest the bombing killed nine women and one child with ten more women reported wounded. "People heard the sound of planes and started running from the house but then the bombs hit the house directly. The roof collapsed and there was blood everywhere," a resident of the village told a Reuters news agency cameraman.[231]

An explosion in a warehouse on Sunday 7 April 2019, in Sanaa, have killed at least 11 civilians, including school children and left more than 39 people wounded. The Associated Press news agency said 13 killed, including 7 children and more than 100 were wounded. According to Al Jazeera and Houthi officials, the civilians were killed in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike.[232] The Saudi-led coalition denied any airstrikes took place that day on Sanaa. The state-run news agency in Aden, aligned with the internationally recognized government, said the rebels had stored weapons at the warehouse. According to The Washington Post, "some families and residents of the district of Sawan said the explosion occurred after a fire erupted inside the warehouse. They said a fire sent columns of white smoke rising into the air, followed by the explosion." Their accounts were confirmed by several videos filmed by bystanders.[233][234]

Aircraft losses


Cross-border fighting


Ground combat


On 3 April, CNN cited an unnamed Saudi source who claimed that Saudi special forces were on the ground in and around Aden, "coordinating and guiding" the resistance.[235] The Saudi government officially declined to comment on whether it had special forces, with Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir saying on 2 April that Saudi Arabia had no "formal" troops in Aden.[171]

The Battle of Aden came to an end with pro-Hadi forces again seized control of Aden port and moving into the city's commercial center.[236][237] On 22 July, pro-Hadi forces had retaken full control of Aden, and the Aden Airport was reopened. In late July, an offensive launched by pro-Hadi forces drove Houthi forces out of the towns neighboring Aden.[126]

On 4 September a Houthi OTR-21 Tochka missile hit an ammunition dump at a military base in Safer in Ma'rib Governorate killing 52 UAE, 10 Saudi and 5 Bahraini soldiers. The Safer base was being built up by coalition forces for a push against Sanaa.[238][239][240] "It was the deadliest single attack on coalition soldiers since the start of its operation against Houthi rebels in March" Asseri said.[241] The attacked was the highest casualty loss in the history of the UAE military.[242] Qatar deployed 1000 troops to Yemen after the incident.[243]

By 8 September it was reported that the Saudi-led forces deployed in Yemen exceeded 10,000 troops and included 30 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.[244]

On 14 December media reported a Houthi & Saleh Forces missile attack at a Saudi military camp south-west of the besieged city of Taiz,[245][246] while sources confirmed the killings of over 150 coalition soldiers including 23 Saudi troops, 9 UAE officers and soldiers, 7 Moroccan soldiers and 42 Blackwater troops.[247][248]

On 19 December 2015, reported clashes leaves over 40 Houthi rebels and 35 government loyalists dead, with dozens wounded on both sides.[249]

In June 2018, anti-Houthi forces led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates assaulted the port of Hudaydah,[250] in an effort to dislodge Houthi forces.[251]

Estimated fuel needs in Yemen and monthly fuel imports[252][253][254][255]

Saudi Arabia faced growing criticism for the Saudi-led naval and air blockade, which effectively isolated the country.[256]

A "military source and pro-Hadi militiamen" told the AFP on 26 April that coalition warships were participating in the shelling of Aden.[257]

On 30 April, the Iranian navy announced it had deployed two destroyers to the Gulf of Aden to "ensure the safety of commercial ships of our country against the threat of pirates", according to a rear admiral.[258] According to the same source, the deployment was scheduled to last until mid-June. Iran's deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, told state-run Tasnim News Agency that "others will not be allowed to put our shared security at risk with military adventures".[259]

Scale and participation of Saudi-led coalition members


Pakistan was called on by Saudi Arabia to join the coalition, but its parliament voted to maintain neutrality.[260] In February 2016, Constellis (commonly known as Blackwater, named Academi at the time) withdrew from front-line duties in the Yemen campaign.[11] Qatar was suspended from the coalition due to the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis.[261] Morocco ended their participation in 2019 due to deterioration of Morocco–Saudi Arabia relations[262] followed by United Arab Emirates in July 2019 amid possible tensions with Iran on the Persian Gulf and differences with Saudi Arabia.[4] Sudan announced its decision to reduce troops commitment from 15,000 to 5,000 in early December 2019.[263]

Reports of war crimes

Airstrikes in Yemen apparently violating the laws of war (selection)
HRW investigation of 10 Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, that took place between 11 April and 30 August 2015. HRW found either no evident military target or the attack failed to distinguish civilians from military objectives, in apparent violation of the laws of war.[264]
Date (in 2015) Location / governorate Objectives or targets struck Civilians killed (at least) Civilians
Men Women Children Total
11 April Amran / Amran buildings in the town 1 2 1 4 1
12 May Abs / Hajjah Abs/Kholan Prison and other buildings in the town 21 1 3 25 18
12 May Zabid / Al Hudaydah Shagia market and lemon grove in the town 39 13 8 60 155
4 July Muthalith Ahim / Al Hudaydah marketplace in the village ? ? 3 65 105
6 July Amran 1. Bawn market between Amran und Raydah;
2. Jawb market outside the town
13 1 15 29 20
12 July Sanaʽa-Sawan / Sanaʽa muhamashee residential neighborhood 2 7 14 23 31 people
19 July Yarim / Ibb residential homes and buildings in the town 4 3 9 16 16
24 July Mokha / Taiz residential compound of Mokha Steam Power Plant 42 13 10 65 55
8 August Shara'a / Ibb homes in the village (Radhma district) 2 3 3 8 2
30 August Abs / Hajjah Al-Sham Water Bottling Factory in the outskirts of the town 11 3 14 11
Civilian airstrike casualties for all 10 airstrikes, investigated by HRW (report of 26 November 2015) 309 414

The Saudi-led campaign has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, that reached the level of a "humanitarian disaster"[23] or "humanitarian catastrophe". The war has contributed to the famine in Yemen which has threatened over 17 million people, according to the UN, as well as an outbreak of cholera which has infected hundreds of thousands.[87][265][266]

After the Saudi-led coalition declared the entire Saada Governorate a military target in May 2015, the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen and Human Rights Watch expressed concern that the bombing there was unnecessarily harming civilians.[267][268] On 1 July 2015, the UN declared for Yemen a "level-three" emergency—the highest UN emergency level—for a period of six months.[269][270] Human rights groups repeatedly blamed the Saudi-led military coalition for killing civilians and destroying health centres and other infrastructure with airstrikes.[271]

In June 2015, aid agencies said the de facto blockade of Yemen had dramatically worsened the humanitarian situation, with 78% (20 million) of the population in urgent need of food, water and medical aid. Aid ships are allowed, but the bulk of commercial shipping, on which the country relies, is blocked.[272] In one incident, coalition jets prevented an Iranian Red Crescent plane from landing by bombing Sanaʽa International Airport's runway, which blocked aid delivery by air.[273]

Protest against the military intervention in Yemen on 14 August 2020

According to Farea Al-Muslim, direct war crimes were committed during the conflict; for example, an IDP (internally displaced person) camp was hit by a Saudi airstrike, while Houthis sometimes prevented aid workers from giving aid.[274] The UN and human rights groups discussed the possibility that war crimes may have been committed by Saudi Arabia during the air campaign.[275]

US Representative Ted Lieu has criticized the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen: "Some of these strikes look like war crimes to me, and I want to get answers as to why the US appears to be assisting in the execution of war crimes in Yemen."[276]

In March 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that "Since the start of the current conflict, at least 4,773 civilians had been killed and 8,272 wounded, the majority by coalition airstrikes.... Human Rights Watch has documented 62 apparently unlawful coalition airstrikes, some of which may amount to war crimes, that have killed nearly 900 civilians, and documented seven indiscriminate attacks by Houthi-Saleh forces in Aden and Taizz that killed 139 people, including at least eight children."[277]

In an April 2020 report, Human Rights Watch said that war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in Yemen go unmentioned. They stated that these countries were responsible for most child casualties and illegal attacks on schools.[278] On December third, 2020, more than 60 organizations urged the U.N. General Assembly to establish an investigative body to gather and preserve evidence of serious human rights violations during Yemen's seven-year conflict, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.[279]

On 20 December 2021, the Saudi-led coalition carried out air raids at the international airport in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. As a result of these airstrikes, UN aid flights into Sanaa were halted as the airport was no longer able to receive aircraft operated by the United Nations or international humanitarian organisations. Since 2016, humanitarian flights into Sanaa airport have been largely interrupted by a Saudi-led blockade.[280]

According to a report by Relief Web, released on 13 December 2022, the Houthis along with the Saudi/UAE-led coalition have used explosive weapons in densely populated areas of Yemen throughout the duration of the conflict. The report details at least ten such incidents of civilian harm caused by attacks carried out by the Saudi/UAE-led coalition and the Houthis.[281][282]

On August 21, 2023, The Washington Post[283] reported that Saudi security forces killed hundreds of Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross the country's border with Yemen, according to Human Rights Watch. The Saudis allegedly shot at people at close range and fired explosive weapons at groups in the mountains, in what could amount to crimes against humanity.

Attacks on facilities run by aid organizations


Since the Saudi-led coalition began military operations against Ansar Allah on 26 March 2015, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes unlawfully struck hospitals and other facilities run by aid organizations, according to Human Rights Watch.[284] Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical facilities in Yemen were attacked four times in three months.[285] On 26 October 2015, HRW documented six Saudi-led airstrikes which bombed a MSF hospital in Haydan district (Sa'dah Governorate), wounding two patients.[284][285][286] MSF's director of operations Raquel Ayora said: "The way war is being waged in Yemen is causing enormous suffering and shows that the warring parties do not recognise or respect the protected status of hospitals and medical facilities. We witness the devastating consequences of this on people trapped in conflict zones on a daily basis. Nothing has been spared—not even hospitals, even though medical facilities are explicitly protected by international humanitarian law."[285]

Saudi Arabia's response to accusations


On 16 May 2016, Brigadier General Ahmed Hassan Asiri responded to Human Rights Watch's accusations, stating that Saudi Arabia's actions are not motivated by self-interest, but rather "because we saw population undermined and oppressed by the militias".[287] Ahmed Asiri claimed that Human Rights Watch did not have a team on the ground in Yemen, and when told by Mary Louise Kelly during an interview that Human Rights Watch had visited Yemen, stated "No. No one can get in Yemen without the permission of the coalition".[287]

Human Rights Watch responded to these statements on 16 May 2016. Belkis Wille stated that "In fact, this two-week trip was the fourth I had made to Yemen since the beginning of the war in March 2015. Given what I go through to get into Yemen, al-Assiri's statement was laughable".[288] She stated that on each of her visits to Yemen during this time period her passport has been confiscated, with no reason being given. She claims that this indicates that the coalition knows that she is visiting Yemen.[288]

After initially denying responsibility, on 15 October 2016, Saudi Arabia admitted responsibility for the funeral airstrikes which killed at least 140 and injured 525.[289] Saudi Arabian forces blamed the airstrikes on "wrong information" which was provided by an unnamed party, which had reportedly claimed the funeral was a legitimate target.[289] Human Rights Watch has claimed that the airstrikes likely constitute a war crime, due to the indiscriminate nature of the attack.[290]

Overall airstrike casualties

Year Date Place Deaths Source
2015 26 March – 7 April[291] Sanaʽa 88 civilians U.N.
26 March – 23 April[292] Sanaʽa 2019 people U.N.
30 March[293] Mazraq 29 civilians U.N.
31 March[294] Saada 19 civilians U.N.
31 March[295] Ibb province 14 people (11 civilians) Local sources
31 March[296] Wadi Saan 10 civilians Local sources
31 March[297] Hodeida governorate 31 civilians HRW
4 April[298] Sanaa governorate 9 civilians of the same family Reuters via local sources
7 April[299][300] Maitam 3 civilians Local sources
12 April[301] Taiz 8 civilians Local sources
14 April[302] Taiz 10 civilians Amnesty International
17 April[303] Yarim, south of Sanaa 7 civilians Local sources
17 April[304] Sanaa 8 civilians
18 April[305] Saada 1 civilian Local sources
19–29 April[306] Haradh 15 people U.N.
20 April[307] Fajj Atan military base, Sanaʽa 91 people ICRC
21 April–5 May[308] Aden 22 civilians U.N.
21 April[309] Ibb province 20 people Local sources
21 April[309] Haradh 9 people Local sources
26 April[310] Al-Thawra hospital, Taiz 19 people U.N.
27 April[311] Aden 2 civilians Local sources
27–28 April[312] Bajel District 30 people U.N.
28 April[313] between Al-Qaras and Basatir 40 civilians Local sources
1 May[308] Sanaʽa 17 civilians U.N.
6 May[314][315] Sadaa 34 people including at least 27 civilians U.N. and HRW
6 May[314] Sanaa 20 people U.N.
6 May[316] Kitaf 7 civilians Local sources
6 May[212] Dhamar governorate 11 people Local sources
9 May[317] Saada 4 civilians U.N.
11 May[318] Sanaa 5 people Agence France-Presse
14 May[319] Saada 9 people Associated Press
21 May[320] Hajjah Governorate 5 civilians U.N
26 May[321] Saada 7 civilians Local sources
26 May[302] Taiz 8 civilians Amnesty International
27 May[322][323] Saada and Yemen 80–100 people Reuters
4 June[324] Across Yemen 58 people Local sources
6 June[325] Across Yemen 38 people Local sources
7 June[326] Sanaa 44 people Local sources
12 June[327] Old City of Sanaa 6 people Local sources
13 June[328] Bait Me'yad, Sanaa 9 people Medical sources
16 June[302] Taiz 5 civilians Amnesty International
19 June[329] Across Yemen 10 civilians Local sources
21 June[330] Across Yemen 15 people BBC
30 June[331] Saada 2 people Local sources
30 June[302] Taiz 4 civilians Amnesty International
2 July[331] Sanaa 8 people Houthi-controlled Saba News Agency.
3 July[332] Across Yemen 16 people Local sources
6 July[333] Across Yemen 100 people Local and medical sources
7 July[302] Taiz 11 Lahj Amnesty International
9 July[302][334] Taiz 11 Lahj Amnesty International
25 July[335] Mokha, Yemen 120 civilians Associated Press
17 August[336] Jibla and Al-Jawf 17 civilians Local officials
19 August[337] Sanaa 15 civilians UN
21 August[338] Taiz 65 civilians Doctors Without Borders
28 August[339] Taiz 10 people Reuters
30 August[340] Hajjah and Sanaa 40 civilians Local sources
5 September[341] Sanaa 27 civilians Reuters
6 September[341] Al Jawf Governorate 30 people Reuters
12 September[342] Across Yemen 16 civilians Reuters
14 September[343] Sanaa, Yemen 10 people Reuters
20 September[344] Saada 20 People Reuters
21 September[344] Hajjah and Sanaa 50 people Reuters
27 September[345] Hajjah 30 civilians Local sources
28 September[345] Al-Wahijah, Taiz 131 civilians Medics
8 October[346] Dhamar, Yemen 25–50 people Reuters
2016 10 January[347] Saada, Yemen 6 civilians Doctors Without Borders
13 January[348] Bilad al-Rus 15 civilians Local sources
27 February[349] Sanaa 40 civilians Reuters
15 March[350] Mastaba at least 119 people UN
20 June[351] Sanaa 8 civilians Yemeni officials
7 August[352] Nehm district 18 civilians Local officials
9 August[353] Sanaa 13 civilians Reuters
13 August[354] Saada 19 civilians MSF
15 August[355][356] Hajjah province 19 civilians MSF
10 September[357] Arhab district 30 people UN
21 September[358] Al Hudaydah Governorate 26 civilians Reuters
8 October[359] Sanaa 140 people UN
29 October[360] Al Hudaydah 60 inmates Reuters
28 November[361] Al Hudaydah at least 13 civilians Yemeni officials
2017 1 January[362] Sirwah District 5 civilians Military officials
7 January[363] Sanaʽa 12 civilians Medics
10 January[363] Nehm district 8 children Rescuers
15 February[364] north of Sanaa 10 women and children Reuters
10 March[365] Al Khawkhah district 18 civilians UN
15 March[366] Mastaba 119 people Human Rights Watch
16 March[367] Bab-el-Mandeb 42 Somali refugees UN
3 April[368] Sarawah District 8 civilians Security and tribal officials
17 May[369] Mawza District 23 civilians Houthis
17 June[370] Saada Governorate 24 civilians Health officials
18 July[371] al-Atera village, Mawza District 20+ civilians UN
23 August[372][373] Arhab, Sanaʽa 48+ civilians Medical officials
26 December[374] Taiz, Hodeidah 68 civilians UN
2018 3 April[375] Hodeidah 14+ civilians Medics
23 April[376] Hajja 40+ civilians Medical officials
9 August[377][378] Saada 51 killed, including 40 children International Committee of the Red Cross; Houthi Health Ministry
13 October[379] Al Hudaydah 17 people Deutsche Welle
24 October[380] Al Hudaydah Governorate 21+ civilians UN
2019 29 July[381] Saada Governorate 13+ civilians Medics
1 September[382] Dhamar 100+ civilians Red Cross (ICRC)
2020 15 February[383] Al Jawf Governorate 31+ civilians UN
8 August[384] Al Jawf Governorate 20+ women and children UN, Houthis
2022 21 January[385] Saada 100+ people MSF, Houthis
HRW-investigation of six apparently unlawful airstrikes in residential areas of Sanaa city in September and October 2015, that (according to HRW) failed to distinguish civilians from military objectives or caused disproportionate civilian loss[386]
Date Location Objectives struck Civilians killed (at least) Civilians injured
(if known)
Men Women Children Total
4 September Hadda Neighborhood, Sanaʽa four-story apartment building 0 1 2 3
18 September Marib Street, Sanaʽa house and unused iron lathe workshop 3 1 1 5 8
18 September Old City, Sanaʽa buildings of the World Heritage Site 4 2 7 13 12
21 September Al-Hassaba Neighborhood, Sanaʽa homes in the densely populated residential area 3 6 11 20 ?
23 September Al-Asbahi Neighborhood, Sanaʽa buildings in the residential neighborhood 7 2 10 19 ?
26 October Thabwa, Sanaʽa buildings in the residential neighborhood 2
Civilian airstrike casualties for all 6 airstrikes, investigated by HRW (report of 21 December 2015) 60 ?

Foreign support and funding

Saudi Arabia's UK-supplied Eurofighter Typhoons are playing a central role in Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.[387]
The US Navy has actively participated in the Saudi-led naval blockade,[388] which humanitarian organizations argue has been the main contributing factor to the outbreak of famine in Yemen.[389]

In March 2015, President Barack Obama declared that he had authorized US forces to provide logistical and intelligence support to the Saudis in their military intervention in Yemen.[390] Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that "as part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation centre."[391]

NATO powers such as the United Kingdom and the United States support the Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen primarily through arms sales and technical assistance.[392] France had also made recent military sales to Saudi Arabia.[393] MSF emergency coordinator Karline Kleijer called the US, France and the UK part of the Saudi-led coalition, which imposed the weapons embargo and blocked all ships from entering Yemen with supplies.[394] Rights groups have criticized the countries for supplying arms, and accuse the coalition of using cluster munitions, which are banned in most countries.[395] Oxfam pointed out that Germany, Iran, and Russia have also reportedly sold arms to the conflicting forces.[396] Tariq Riebl, head of programmes in Yemen for Oxfam, said, "it's difficult to argue that a weapon sold to Saudi Arabia would not in some way be used in Yemen," or "if it's not used in Yemen it enables the country to use other weapons in Yemen."[392] Amnesty International urged the US and the UK to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and to the Saudi-led coalition.[397] On August 3, 2019, a United Nations report said the US, UK and France may be complicit in committing war crimes in Yemen by selling weapons and providing support to the Saudi-led coalition which it accused of using starvation of civilians as a tactic of warfare.[398][399]

In 2016, the United States government sold 1.3 billion dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia despite concerns from officials that it could be complicit in war crimes through its support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen. U.S. government lawyers were unable to conclude whether the U.S. support for the coalition made them a co-belligerents under international law.[400]

Arms sale by United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 2019 reportedly soared by £1bn, i.e. 300%, in comparison to the figures in 2018. Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade condemned the increase and criticized the UK arms industry of being dominated by human rights abusers and dictatorships. UK-made fighter jets have been accused of causing catastrophic damage in Yemen.[401] According to official figures released by the Department for International Trade (DIT), the United Kingdom has exported £11bn worth of arms in 2019, becoming the second-highest arms exporter after the United States. The UK traded arms despite a June 2019 court ruling halting the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that could be used in Yemen.[402]

In January 2020, the State Department told lawmakers that it was planning to permit Raytheon to sell precision-guided missiles worth $478 million to Saudi Arabia and expand its manufacturing inside the country, despite the kingdom's human rights record and objections by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.[403] On February 4, 2021, the new US President Joe Biden announced an end to the U.S. support for Saudi-led operations in Yemen.[404] However, U.S. arms sales have continued.[405][406]

In early June 2020, the French government published a report on the arms exports of 2019, where the sale of €1.4 billion arms was made to Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch urged the French authorities to halt any arms sale to Saudi, considering the country is accused in possible war crimes and human rights abuses in Yemen.[407] In July 2020, Amnesty International revealed that France had promoted a private military center to train Saudi troops and backed it both financially and politically. According to the report, France intended to train the Saudi soldiers in the operations of the latest versions of weapons that had already been used in the Yemeni conflict. The training center has been set up at the town of Commercy in Meuse with funds extracted from the French taxpayer's money, violating international treaties, as per Lebel.[408][409]

In September 2020, a United Nations panel listed Canada among the countries who contributed to fueling the war in Yemen. Following that, 39 human rights organizations, arms-control groups and labor unions, including the Public Service Alliance of Canada, sent a joint letter to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging for the country to end arms exports to Saudi Arabia.[410]

The Saudi-led coalition used a precision-guided munition developed in the United States in an air hit on a detention facility in Sa'adah, northwestern Yemen, that killed at least 80 people and injured over 200, according to Doctors Without Borders. The laser-guided bomb used in the raid was made by Raytheon, a US defence company.[411]

Following a spate of missile assaults by Yemeni rebels, the US will deploy a guided-missile destroyer and cutting-edge fighter jets to help defend the United Arab Emirates, according to a US statement released Wednesday, February 2, 2022.[412]

The commander of US Central Command arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, February 6, 2022, to expand on previous Pentagon announcements to assist the UAE in bolstering its defenses following attacks in Yemen by Iranian-backed rebels.[413]

In a June 2022 joint analysis, the Washington Post in association with Security Force Monitor at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute (SFM) reported that the United States supported the majority of the Saudi-led coalition's airforce squadrons. A large portion of the coalition airstrikes were carried out by aircraft developed, maintained and sold by U.S. companies, and were flown by pilots trained by the U.S. military. Out of the 39 air force units of the coalition that could have conducted airstrikes, 38 likely benefited by U.S. approved contracts and in the seven years since the beginning of the bombing campaign, the U.S. approved 213, out of the 902 total contracts, that potentially served the coalition's airforce units.[414][415]

On 7 June 2022, an internal report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was released which concluded that the United States' State Department and the Defense Department had failed to properly assess war crimes allegations against the Saudi-led coalition and had not adequately tracked civilians deaths caused by American-made weapons. The report concluded that there were serious gaps in U.S. government oversight on how arms sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE were used.[416]

Yemeni citizen, Ayman Mohammed Saleh Al-Sanabani filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the US State Department, the US Department of Defense, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and general Dynamics, alleging them of human rights abuses in Yemen. In an opinion article on The Guardian in March 2023, he said his family, including his bride, were massacred on his wedding day in a missile attack by Saudi and the UAE in October 2015. Ayman Mohamed also accused the US of the tragedy and war crimes in Yemen. He said the US and its defense contractors of complicity in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. He also called on the Joe Biden to fulfill his campaign promise and stop the arms sales to Saudi Arabia.[417]

Operation costs


In December 2015, David Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington, estimated the Saudi-led military coalition was spending $200 million a day on military operations in Yemen. His sources speculate that the Saudis are supplying most of the funding.[418]

On 20 October 2020, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) published a report that Swiss companies exported war material to the value of almost 690 million francs. According to this report Saudi Arabia, currently involved in a conflict in Yemen bought war material from Switzerland for 3.8 million francs.[419]



In Yemen



Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was initially allied with Houthis, until they assassinated him on accounts of treason.

Following the call by the leader of the Houthi movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, tens of thousands Yemenis of various socioeconomic backgrounds took to the streets of the rebel-controlled capital, Sanaʽa, to voice their anger at the Saudi intervention.[420]

On 21 April 2015, representatives of 19 Yemeni political parties and associations rejected UN Resolution 2216, stating that it encouraged terrorist expansion, intervened in Yemen's sovereign affairs, violated Yemen's right of self-defence and emphasized the associations' support of the Yemeni Army.[421][422]

On 23 April, a spokesman for the Houthis said UN-sponsored peace talks should continue, but only following "a complete halt of attacks" by the coalition.[423]

In a televised address on 24 April, Saleh called on the Houthis and other armed groups to withdraw from the territory they had seized and participate in UN-sponsored peace talks, in exchange for an end to the air campaign.[424] Exiled Yemeni Foreign Minister rejected the peace proposal saying that Saleh had no role in the talks.[425]

On 26 April, the General Authority for Archeology and Museums in Yemen condemned attacks targeting historical sites. The statement highlighted an attack that completely destroyed an ancient fortress in the Damt District of the Ad Dali' Governorate.[426] Yemeni political parties issued a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting that he continue the peace talks. The letter emphasized that Yemen was still under attack by air, land and sea and that the existing blockade was increasing the humanitarian crisis and that education had been denied for 3 million students due to the "random attacks".[427]

On 2 May 2015, the Yemenis Forum of Persons With Disability stated that 300 centres and organizations had been forced to stop operations following the intervention. The organization denounced the air and sea blockade that "increased the suffering of the disabled greatly".[428] The same day Hussein al-Ezzi, the Houthi head of foreign relations, sent a letter addressed to Secretary General Ban seeking an end to the "unjustified Saudi aggression".[429] He asked the UN to seek an end to what Houthis described as blatant aggression against the country.[430]

On 7 May, 17 humanitarian agencies stressed that life-saving aid would run out in a week and emphasized the need to remove the existing blockade. The International Non-Government Organizations Forum in Yemen appealed for allowing basic materials to enter the country immediately.[431]

On 10 May, Houthi military spokesman Sharaf Luqman welcomed the Russian initiative, which advocated a suspension of military operations and also lifting the blockade.[432]

On 26 March 2017, the second anniversary of the war, over a hundred thousand Houthi supporters demonstrated in Sanaa protesting the Saudi aggression and expressing solidarity.[433]


Yemen's President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 7 May 2015

Anti-Houthi groups, especially Sunnis, while supporting the intervention did not wish for the return to power of Hadi, since they viewed him as the man "who ceded control of the capital without a fight six months ago".[434]

On 3 April, the Al-Islah party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared its support for the campaign.[435] Supporters of the party reportedly suffered consequences, including kidnappings and raids, as a result of this declaration.[436][437]

On 26 April, the foreign minister in Hadi's government, Riad Yaseen, rejected Saleh's calls for UN-sponsored peace talks on the ground.[438]

Saudi Arabia




On 5 April a firefight broke out between anti-government Shiite rioters and security forces in Saudi Arabia's Shiite-minority in Eastern Province, with one police officer killed and three others injured.[439] The firefight broke out after calls in the Eastern Province to protest against the military intervention.[440]

On 29 April, King Salman dismissed his appointed crown prince, Muqrin of Saudi Arabia. Some regional political analysts speculated that the decision was precipitated by Muqrin's alleged opposition to the intervention. Salman appointed Muhammad bin Nayef, who publicly announced his support of the operation, to replace Muqrin.[441][442]



On 21 April, Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal reportedly offered 100 Bentleys to participating pilots. The announcement was met with substantial criticism.[443]

Among the general populace, the war was popular.[444]

Other coalition countries




On 3 April Bahrainis protested against the war on Yemen.[445] A prominent Bahraini opposition politician, Fadhel Abbas, was reportedly arrested by Bahraini authorities for condemning the bombing as "flagrant aggression".[446]



Supporters of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated against Egypt's military intervention.[447]



Kuwaiti politician Abdul-Hamid Dashti reportedly criticized the war and described it as an "act of aggression".[448] A prominent Kuwaiti lawyer, Khalid Al Shatti, was summoned by Kuwaiti authorities for his criticism of the Saudi government.[449]

On 28 April, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah stated that the only solution to the Yemen crisis was political.[450]


Foreign Ministers of the U.S., the U.K., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, before a working dinner focused on Yemen, 19 July 2016

The Arab League, United States, Turkey, OIC and Hamas voiced support for the intervention,[451][452][453][454] but the European Union, Russia[455] and the United Nations criticised it.[456][457][458] The United Kingdom, and France supported the intervention,[459] and along with Canada have supplied the Saudi military with equipment.[460][461][462]

Iran condemned intervention as "US-backed aggression".[463] Iran's U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said that "those who violate international law, including international humanitarian law, should be held accountable for their acts and there should be no room for impunity."[464] Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi expressed the Iraqi government's opposition to the intervention: "This (Yemen war) can engulf the whole region in another conflict. We don't need another sectarian war in the region."[465] The Hezbollah secretary general criticized Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying "all invaders end up being defeated".[466]

The Chinese foreign ministry expressed in January 2016 its support for the intervention and the Hadi government, while stressing its desire for a resumption of stability in Yemen.[467]

Somalia's government blamed the Saudi-led coalition for the killing of at least 42 Somali refugees off the Yemeni coast. Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire called the attack on a boat carrying refugees "atrocious" and "appalling".[367]

Protesters against the US-backed Saudi-led war on Yemen were led away and handcuffed by New York police outside the US mission to the UN on 11 December 2017.

Asian countries including China, India, Malaysia and Pakistan, moved within days to evacuate their citizens from Yemen.[468][469][470][471]

On 4 April, the ICRC called for a 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire after the coalition blocked three aid shipments to Yemen.[472] Russia also called for "humanitarian pauses" in the coalition bombing campaign, bringing the idea before the United Nations Security Council in a 4 April emergency meeting.[473] Saudi Arabia's UN ambassador raised questions over whether humanitarian pauses are the best way of delivering humanitarian assistance.[474] On 7 April, China renewed calls for an immediate ceasefire.[475]

On 10 April, the Pakistani Parliament declined a Saudi Arabian request to join the coalition. The Parliament clarified the wish to maintain a neutral diplomatic stance.[476]

On 16 April a group of US and UK-based Yemen scholars wrote an open letter, stating that the operation was illegal under international law and calling for the UN to enforce an immediate ceasefire.[477]

On 19 April, international aid agency Oxfam condemned SA over airstrikes it said hit one of its warehouses containing humanitarian supplies in Saada.[478]

Aid groups came out against the air campaign: Amnesty International said some of the coalition's airstrikes "appear to have failed to take necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects".[479] Reporters without Borders condemned a strike in Sanaa on 20 April that caused the deaths of four employees of Al-Yemen Al-Youm TV and injured ten others; it also condemned attacks on journalists by pro-Houthi forces.[480]

On 4 May the UN called on the coalition to stop attacking Sanaa Airport to allow delivery of humanitarian aid.[481] On 10 May the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen stated that the attacks on Saada province were in breach of international law.[482] On 29 June, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced a coalition airstrike that had hit a UN compound in Aden the previous day and requested a full investigation.[483]

Human Rights Watch criticized the UN Security Council repeatedly for "remaining almost silent on coalition abuses".[271][264][484] In January 2016 an unpublished United Nations panel investigating the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen uncovered "widespread and systematic" attacks on civilian targets in violation of international humanitarian law, calling UN Security Council up for an international commission of inquiry.[485][486][487] Saudi Arabia had previously objected to an inquiry being set up,[485][488] and had not been supported by Western governments.[489][490][491][492]

In February 2016 the Secretary-General of the UN (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon raised strong concerns over continued Saudi-led airstrikes, saying that "coalition air strikes in particular continue to strike hospitals, schools, mosques and civilian infrastructures" in Yemen. He urged States that are signatories to the Arms Trade Treaty to "control arms flows to actors that may use them in ways that breach of international humanitarian law".[493][494]

In June 2016, Ban Ki-moon removed a Saudi-led coalition from a list of children's rights violators,[495] saying that Saudi Arabia threatened to cut Palestinian aid and funds to other UN programs if coalition was not removed from blacklist for killing children in Yemen. According to one source, there was also a threat of "clerics in Riyadh meeting to issue a fatwa against the UN, declaring it anti-Muslim, which would mean no contacts of OIC members, no relations, contributions, support, to any UN projects, programs".[496]

In September 2016, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was accused of blocking the UN inquiry into Saudi war crimes in Yemen.[497]

In April 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced support for the Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen and defended France's arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition.[498] France authorised $18 billion (€16 billion) in arms sales to Saudi Arabia in 2015.[462]

Bahri Abha – the Saudi Arabian ship arrived on 10 December 2019, at the Sagunto, Valencia port, where they were faced by Spanish Control Arms campaign organizations. Since the beginning of the Yemen war, the same ship has reportedly ferried $162 million worth of US-made arms to the kingdom. The organizations of the likes of Amnesty International, FundiPau, Greenpeace and Oxfam Intermón have objected to the shipment of arms from Spanish port.[499]

On June 15, 2020, Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, removed the Saudi-led coalition from a list of children's rights violators despite continued grave violations against children in Yemen.[500]

On 12 November 2021, in opposition to Saudi Arabia's offensive operations in the Yemen civil war, Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced a joint resolution to block the sale of $650 million US weapons to the Kingdom. The weapons sale was authorized by the Biden administration and was expected to include 280 missiles, 596 LAU-128 Missile Rail Launchers, and other equipment. Omar said in a statement, "It is simply unconscionable to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia while they continue to slaughter innocent people and starve millions in Yemen, kill and torture dissidents, and support modern-day slavery."[501]

On 28 December 2021, The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, raised an alarm about the safety of civilians in the war-torn Yemen given the escalating violence, including airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. According to his statement, airstrikes on Sanaa resulted in loss of civilian lives, and damage to the country's infrastructure. He also underlined that violations of international humanitarian and human rights law cannot continue with impunity.[502]

On 29 July 2022, the United Nations' Committee against Torture issued its findings on the United Arab Emirates after review of the States party. In the session, the committee expressed concerns regarding the country's inhuman practices despite compliance of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In its finding, the committee issued concerns about allegations of torture and maltreatment against the UAE-led armed forces, related non-state armed groups, and state security agencies in the Yemen war and fight against terrorism. The committee announced a special onus on the probe and prosecution of the allegations of offenses concerning torture and ill-treatment in the said situations and demanded for a viable pathway to be introduced for the victims in order for them to seek redress, justice and rehabilitation.[503]

On 29 January 2021, Italy blocked the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which ranked biggest arms importers for Italian weapons. The decision from late prime minister Matteo Renzi cited heavy humanitarian crises in Yemen, in which the UAE and Saudi-led coalition were involved. Renzi had agreed sales of approximately 20,000 missiles worth are 400 million euros, the supply of which were also blocked.[504] However, Italy lifted the embargo on arms sales to the UAE, on 17 April 2023.[505] A month after, Italy also lifted the embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, on 31 May 2023.[506]

Al-Qaeda and Islamic State


Both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State had a presence in Yemen before the Saudi-led intervention. AQAP had controlled substantial pieces of territory for some time, while Islamic State claimed for twin bombings in Sanaa the following month that killed 140 people and injured hundreds more.[507]

The two radical groups have used the conflict to expand and consolidate, an obvious fact accepted by the Pentagon.[508] The Houthis disengaged fighting AQAP to face rival Yemeni militias at the same time as they were being hit by coalition air strikes;[508][509] A source indicates that Yemeni troops in the south remained in their bases instead of confronting al-Qaeda militants, fearing Saudi air strikes on any troop movements.[510] There are questions about the ability of the country to confront its Islamist militancy problem due to the major infrastructure damage caused by the war.[510]

Within weeks of the commencement of the Yemen's civil war, AQAP had exploited the chaos to capture the south-eastern port city of Mukalla,[511] along with nearby military, transport, and economic infrastructure.[508] A series of prison breaks by al-Qaeda—they emptied Mukalla's jail of 300 prisoners and emptied 1,200 inmates in June 2015 from the central prison in Taiz—released jailed jihadists of all ranks.[512][513] Reports indicate that Yemen's prisons had, in preceding years, reportedly become "de facto jihadi academies", as veteran militants were placed in cells alongside young, regular criminals.[510]

The coalition campaign against the Houthis in Yemen's city of Aden in July 2015 and subsequent chaos increased AQAP and Islamic State presence in the city.[514] Residents of Aden faced a wave of bombings and shootings that prevented efforts at stabilization.[515] AQAP conducted assassinations of judges, security officials, and police.[516]

On 26 August 2015, Bob Semple, a British petroleum engineer who was kidnapped and held as a hostage by Al Qaeda in Yemen was freed by the UAE armed forces after 18 months of captivity.[517]

At the start of February 2016, AQAP recaptured Azzan, an important commercial city in Shabwa province.[518] A few weeks later, al-Qaeda fighters and Saudi-led coalition forces were seen fighting a common target; the Houthis.[30] But the situation is different in Aden, the AQAP/ISIS and pro-Hadi that were fighting a common enemy in Taiz are enemies in Aden. On 29 February 2016, a suicide car killed 4 pro-Hadi troops in Shiek Othman district in Aden, the city that Hadi uses as a temporary capital.[519]

The United Arab Emirates has spearheaded an active role against fighting AQAP and ISIL-YP presence in Yemen through a partnership with the United States.[520] In April 2016, UAE armed forces assisted Yemeni forces in retaking the city of Mukalla from AQAP during the Battle of Mukalla.[521][522] In August 2017, the UAE armed forces assisted a Yemeni army offensive against AQAP in Shabwah Governorate.[523]

In an Op-Ed in The Washington Post Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, described that the intervention has reduced AQAP presence in Yemen to its weakest point since 2012 with many areas previously under their control liberated.[524] The ambassador declared that more than 2,000 militants have been removed from the battlefield, with their controlled areas now having improved security and a better delivered humanitarian and development assistance such as to the port city of Mukalla and other liberated areas.[524] An Associated Press investigation outlined that the military coalition in Yemen actively reduced AQAP in Yemen without military intervention, instead by offering them deals and even actively recruiting them in the coalition because "they are considered as exceptional fighters".[525] UAE Brigadier General Musallam Al Rashidi responded to the accusations by stating that Al Qaeda cannot be reasoned with and cited that multiple of his soldiers have been killed by them.[526] The UAE military stated that accusations of allowing AQAP to leave with cash contradicts their primary objective of depriving AQAP of its financial strength.[527] The notion of the coalition recruiting or paying AQAP has been thoroughly denied by the United States Pentagon with Colonel Robert Manning, spokesperson of the Pentagon, calling the news source "patently false".[528] The governor of Hadramut Faraj al-Bahsani, dismissed the accusations that Al Qaeda has joined with the coalition rank, explaining that if they did there would be sleeper cells and that he would be "the first one to be killed". According to The Independent, AQAP activity on social media as well as the number of terror attacks conducted by them has decreased since the Emirati intervention.[527]

In January 2019, CNN stated that Saudi Arabia and the UAE provided al-Qaeda linked groups in Yemen with US-made military equipment including vehicles.[529][530]

On 25 June 2019, Saudi special forces announced that they captured the leader of the ISIL-YP, Abu Osama al-Muhajer, on the 3 June along with other members including the chief financial officer of the organization.[531]

In April 2020, Yemeni journalist Salah Bin Laghbar revealed documents showing cooperation between Saudi-led coalition and al-Qaeda in Yemen; "An official document from the al-Humiqani tribe warns Saudi-led coalition against sending weapons to terrorist organizations through the Al-Rashad Party, Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist Abdul Rahman Abu al-Harith al-Humiqani, who is affiliated with Daesh."[532]

Other effects

Registration of Indian citizens evacuating from Yemen, March 2015

On 25 March 2015, Gulf Air, the Bahraini flag carrier airline announced the immediate suspension of service to Sanaʽa.[533] Somali airlines such as Daallo Airlines and Jubba Airways also encountered difficulties, as they were unable to fly over Yemen after its airspace became restricted.[534] On 15 April 2015, Turkish Airlines suspended all Yemen flights until 1 June.[535]

Following Hadi's request, the administration of the Egypt-based Nilesat and Saudi-based Arabsat, two satellite communication companies, stopped broadcasting Yemeni state-run television channels that had fallen under Houthi control. The channels included Al-Yemen, Al-Eman, Saba News Agency and Aden TV. Armed Houthis closed down the Sanaʽa offices of four media outlets, including Al Jazeera, Yemen Shabab and Suhail channels, as well as Al-Masdar's newspaper and website. Al-Saeeda channel was also stormed, but was allowed to remain open on the condition it not broadcast anti-Houthi material. Houthi Political Office member Mohammad Al-Bukhaiti said the channels were closed for supporting the coalition.[536]

King Salman replaced his half-brother Muqrin as crown prince with Muhammad bin Nayef and named his son Mohammed bin Salman as defence minister, and then-Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir as foreign minister. Some reports linked the cabinet reshuffle to the war.[537][538] At least one political analyst suggested that Muqrin was not supportive of the military intervention, and that this cost him his position.[539] Prince Muqrin's Yemeni Lineage was pointed out as another possible cause.[540]

The exiled Yemeni government sent a request to the UN, asking for foreign troops on the ground.[541]

On 19 June 2015, WikiLeaks announced the intention of releasing over 500,000 Saudi diplomatic documents to the internet. In its statement, WikiLeaks referred to a recent electronic attack on the Saudi Foreign Ministry by a group calling itself the Yemen Cyber Army, but did not indicate whether they passed the documents to WikiLeaks.[542]

Peace efforts


Cease fire talks


On 15 May 2015, new UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed proposed peace talks in Geneva. Rebel spokesman Hamed al-Bokheiti said the Houthis were willing to hold talks in any "neutral" country.[543] Five days later the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon announced that peace talks would be held in Geneva starting on 28 May and urged all parties to participate.[544] Houthi rebels reiterated their support for the talks while exiled government officials said they would participate only if the Houthi's withdrew from occupied cities.[545]

On 26 May, Ban announced that the peace talks were to be postponed indefinitely after exiled Yemeni officials refused to attend until rebels withdrew from all occupied cities.[546] On 6 June the UN announced that peace talks would take place on 14 June[547] Both the exiled officials and the Houthi group confirmed their attendance.[324]

15–19 June 2015 talks


Secretary-General Ban called for a "humanitarian pause" during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Peace talks between the exiled government and the Houthis concluded in Geneva without reaching a ceasefire.[548][549]

Ramadan peace agreement


On 4 July 2015, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam said in a post on his Facebook page that he had met Ahmed on Friday to discuss a Ramadan truce. The US and EU announced their support for a humanitarian truce.[550]

On 9 July, the UN announced an unconditional truce between 10 July until the end of Eid ul Fitr on 17 July. The Special Envoy to Yemen assured the agreement of all warring factions.[551] The truce was interrupted within an hour by airstrikes.[552] Coalition spokesman later added that the coalition was not bound by the truce and that any truce would be counterproductive.[553] It later added that it was not requested to pause by the exiled Yemeni Government.[554]

Further peace talks


On 8 September 2015, Vice News revealed a leaked email by UN Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. In it, the envoy confirms that Houthi rebels and the party of former president and Houthi ally Ali Abdullah Saleh have expressed willingness to accept—with some reservations—a UN Security Council resolution, approved in April. This demanded the rebels "withdraw their forces from all areas they have seized, including the capital, Sanaa". "AA/GPC agreed to a new wording on UNSC resolution 2216 that states unequivocally that they are committed to the implementation of 2216 (see document attached) with the exception of article which infringe on Yemeni sovereignty and those related to sanctions," wrote Ould Cheikh Ahmed, referring to Ansar Allah (AA)—another name for the Houthis—and Saleh's General People's Congress party (GPC). "In addition, the new text includes acceptance of the return of the current government for a period of 60 days during which a government of national unity shall be formed," wrote the envoy in the email. According to Ould Cheikh Ahmed, during talks, the Houthis gave ground on certain language, including "mandatory support by the international community for reconstruction that was in the earlier version". "The latter was particularly opposed by KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and GCC Gulf Cooperation Council who did not want it to be interpreted as a form of mandatory compensation," added the UN envoy.[555]

On 10 September, UN Envoy to Yemen announced that all parties had agreed to peace talks. A statement from Hadi's office following a meeting on the issue of new talks affirmed the president's "complete support for the sincere efforts exerted by the special envoy". It urged Ahmed to "exert efforts to achieve the public and honest commitment on the part of the Houthis and Saleh" to implement 14 April council resolution unconditionally.[556] On 13 September, the exiled Yemeni government announced that it would no longer participate in the peace talks.[557]

2016 talks


On 18 April, peace talks aimed at ending Yemen's civil war that were set to begin faltered before they could start, when delegates representing Yemen's Houthi rebels refused to attend.[558]

On 20 April, talks convened, based on UN Security Council resolution 2216 which called for the Houthi fighters to withdraw from areas they seized since 2014 and hand heavy weapons back to the government.[559]

On 6 August, the UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, announced the suspension in Kuwait, where the talks were being held. He said that the negotiations were not a failure and that they would resume in a month at an undisclosed location. Mr. Ahmed is the second United Nations envoy to try to broker peace talks between the Houthis and other factions in Yemen since March 2015. His predecessor quit after similar peace talk efforts failed. After the breakdown of the talks, one of the Houthi negotiators, Nasser Bagazgooz, blamed the United Nations envoy for seeking what he said amounted to a military solution on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition.[560] Previous negotiations floated the idea of forming a unity government—composed of Houthi and former Hadi government leaders. But the exiled Hadi leaders have consistently rejected any deal that would diminish their power over Yemen, and the Houthis have said that they will reject any deal that does not give them a seat at the table.[561][562][563]

November ceasefire

The Saudi-led military coalition and Houthis (Ansar Allah) arrived at a swift ceasefire agreement effective 17 November 2016, as a result of efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Omani dignitaries.[564]

2020 ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic


After the United Nations urged both sides to pursue peace talks in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen,[565] Saudi-led coalition spokesman Turki Al-Maliki announced a unilateral ceasefire beginning 9 April at noon, to support efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.[566] However, despite pledging ceasefire in Yemen, Saudi-led coalition carried out dozens of airstrikes in the span of a week. The Yemen Data Project stated that at least 106 Saudi-led airstrikes, across 26 raids in Yemen had been carried out by the Kingdom in just one week.[567] On July 2, coalition fighter jets launched scores of airstrikes on several Yemeni provinces. The operation was a response to ballistic missile and drone launchings by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia.[568] Both sides stepped up their attacks in September.[569]

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