UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – The fight by Yemeni government forces to take control of a main port controlled by the Houthi rebels has killed more than 100 people on both sides in less than a week, medical and military sources said.
Yemeni forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, are seeking to cordon off the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, the main passage for medical supplies to the country, where 22 million people need help.
Medics in the southern province of Aden, where government forces are based, said they had received 52 bodies, including 20 soldiers, on Friday and Saturday, bringing the death toll to at least 110 since Wednesday.
Medics said the rest of the bodies were also returned to soldiers.
A source in the alliance said on Saturday that the Houthi rebels were ambushed for a military convoy in the coastal area of Drehmi in the province of Hodeidah.
Forces loyal to the Yemeni government backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last week launched a campaign to enter the city of Hodeidah and take control of its port.
Hodeidah lies 230 km from the capital, Sanaa, which was dominated by the Houthis in 2014, leading to Saudi military intervention in Yemen in the next world.
The ongoing military campaign aims to help the government of exiled President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi, internationally recognized, to regain control of the entire country.
The Saudi-led coalition accuses the rebels of using Hodeidah as a launching pad for attacks on shipping ships in the Red Sea and also for smuggling rockets.
In recent months, insurgents have fired rockets at Riyadh and other areas in Saudi Arabia.
At least 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the military alliance in Yemen in March 2015.
The cholera outbreak has killed 2,200 people and millions of Yemenis are on the brink of famine, which the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The United Nations last week warned that any operation to control the port of Hodeidah could disrupt aid access to Yemen, 70 percent of which passes through the port.