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Saudi-led Coalition Warns Houthis to Honor Cease-fire

  • Edward Yeranian

A man loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh stands guard at Saleh's house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 10, 2015.

A man loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh stands guard at Saleh's house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 10, 2015.

Despite a cease-fire in Yemen, both sides report continued firing. Saudi military spokesman General Ahmed Asiri says that coalition forces have not responded to what he called numerous provocations by Yemen's Houthi rebels, including shelling Saudi territory in several places. However, Yemen news media report bombing raids by Saudi aircraft.

News media Thursday reported Houthi rebel militiamen fired tank shells and rockets at Sunni tribal fighters in Yemen's third largest city of Taiz overnight, in one of several reported violations of a humanitarian cease-fire. Saudi-owned al Arabiya TV reported that Houthi militiamen also shelled their opponents in the port city of Aden, in Dalaa, in Louder and in Ma'arib.

The Houthi's Al Masira TV said that Saudi planes bombed a market in Hodeida and a civilian vehicle in northern Saada province, killing several people. VOA could not independently verify the claims.

Al Masira TV also claimed that Houthi militiamen were firing back at snipers and al-Qaida militants who were attacking their positions in Taiz.

Saudi military spokesman General Ahmed Asiri told Arab media that the Saudi-led coalition was intent on observing the cease-fire, despite what he called the Houthi's repeated violations, but that the coalition's patience could run out.

He says that the Houthis should be more concerned about the welfare of the Yemeni people and observe the humanitarian cease-fire, which began Tuesday. He insists that the Saudi-led coalition's patience (in holding its fire) could run out at some point.

Displaced boys who fled their home after a Saudi-led airstrike destroyed their houses, live in a school in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, May 14, 2015.

Displaced boys who fled their home after a Saudi-led airstrike destroyed their houses, live in a school in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, May 14, 2015.

On his first visit to Yemen, United Nations envoy Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed told reporters that he hoped the truce would hold, despite a number of violations, because the Yemeni people need a respite from fighting.

He says that we are trying to find a formula to put an end to the political crisis and the humanitarian catastrophe. He argues that the humanitarian truce is holding, despite a number of serious violations, and that he still remains optimistic.

Washington-based Middle East analyst Sigurd Neubauer tells VOA that the cease-fire appears to be successful in delivering aid to a number of places, so far.

“Despite the opposing parties accusing one another of violations, we have seen that humanitarian supplies have been successfully delivered, whether that is through Djibouti, to the port of Hodeida or planeloads with supplies (from Doctors Without Borders) to Sana'a,” said Neubauer.

Neubauer says there are “some positive signs” from the short, current cease-fire, creating hope that it may be possible to “hold further (peace) talks” if the parties “exercise a bit of political will.”

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