Saudi airstrikes hit Yemen ahead of peace talks

Representatives of Yemen’s Houthis and ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi are set to start a new round of UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait on Monday in a bid to end the conflict in the country.

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Sunday landed in Kuwait City, where he said the situation was generally stable across Yemen regardless of “some violations” of a UN-sponsored truce agreement. He said the violations were “minor.”

However, local residents and witnesses said Saudi warplanes bombarded al-Ghayl district in the northern Yemeni province of Jawf early on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s remotely-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles also carried out a number of reconnaissance missions over the skies of the capital Sana’a, the al-Masirah television reported.

Pro-Hadi militiamen meanwhile fired a barrage of rockets and artillery rounds at the city of Sirwah, about 120 km (75 miles) east of the capital, it said.

Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi, the foreign minister of Hadi’s administration, said he didn’t expect “a full agreement at this stage but rather a step toward that end.”

Yemeni women stand in front of buildings that were damaged in Saudi airstrikes in the UNESCO-listed old city of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, March 23, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The ceasefire has been violated numerous times with fighting that has been unabated in Nahm, northeast of Sana’a, killing nine Saudi-backed militants on Sunday.

The northern capital remains in the hands of the Houthis and Saudi Arabia continues carrying out attacks from the air and ground to take it.

The kingdom, however, is under growing pressure as its protracted war has ground into a no-win situation.

In February, Saudi military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri acknowledged that Riyadh was stuck in a “static war” against its southern neighbor.

Saudi Arabia is also coming under an unprecedented criticism from around the world over rising civilian casualties and destruction in Yemen.

The United Nations has raised alarm over the growing influence of al-Qaeda in Yemen since Saudi Arabia launched the war in March 2015.

More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.

The Saudi strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

By Press TV