At least 20 fighters of the Houthi-Saleh alliance and seven mercenaries of the Saudi-led coalition lost their lives during fighting in Yemen on Thursday.
At least seven mercenaries of the Saudi-led coalition and 20 fighters of the Houthi-Saleh alliance were killed during fighting in the southern part of Yemen, the AFP news agency reported, citing its own unnamed military sources.
According to the news agency’s sources, the hostilities intensified in Shabwa province on Thursday.
The armed conflict, in which one side is represented by Houthis rebels from the Ansar Allah Shiite movement and a part of the army, loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, while another one consists of troops and militia, loyal to former President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has been ongoing in Yemen since 2014. Since 2015, the latter side of the conflict has been obtaining support of the Saudi-led coalition, which operates both in the air and on the ground.
On Friday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that more than 4,500 civilians have been killed and over 8,000 others have been wounded in Yemen since March 26, 2015, when the escalation of the conflict in the country started.
“Sunday, 26 March, will mark two years since the escalation of the current conflict in Yemen. Since 26 March 2015, at least 4,773 civilians have been killed and another 8,272 injured by the violence – a total of 13,045 civilian casualties. These figures reflect only those deaths and injuries that the UN Human Rights Office has managed to corroborate and confirm to be civilians. The actual death toll is certainly considerably higher,” a statement of the UN OHCHR noted.
The document also indicates that during the two years of the conflict in the country, 21 million Yemenis, 82 percent of the population, have found themselves in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
According to the UN OHCHR, for the last month, “106 civilians have been killed, mostly by air strikes and shelling by coalition war ships.” In particular, on March 16, ships of the Saudi-led coalition shelled a boat with refugees in the Red Sea without any warning, followed by shooting from an Apache helicopter.
In this regard, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, once again stressed the need to establish an international independent body to investigate hundreds of reports on serious violations in Yemen.