Fears and tears grip Yemenis amid airstrikes and conflicts

GMT 15:53 2016 Saturday ,26 March

Arab Today, arab today Fears and tears grip Yemenis amid airstrikes and conflicts

Ali Abdullah Saleh
Sanaa - Arab Today

Tens of thousands of supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi Shiite group held separate rallies in Yemen's rebel-held capital Sanaa on Saturday to mark the one-year-old anniversary of the outbreak of the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and civil war in Yemen.

The capital was divided into two squares between the Iran-allied Houthi and Saleh's groups.

Supporters of the General People's Congress, which is headed by Saleh, gathered morning in Al-Sabeen area in southern Sanaa, while the Houthis staged their rally afternoon in Al-Rawda in northern the capital.

Both rallies were called upon by the two war leaders, Ali Abdullah Saleh and Abdul-Malik Badr al-Deen al-Houthi.

In their briefed speeches to their supporters, both leaders confirmed they went into peace talks with Saudi Arabia which began last month and that they sought to end the Saudi-led coalition campaign against them, at the same time they accused the internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government of being mercenaries to the Saudi government.

Since the morning till afternoon, the Saudi-led coalition warplanes kept flying overhead in Sanaa, opening sound barriers but fired no airstrikes.

"Our anti-Saudi aggression day celebration began in Al-Sabeen area and ended in Al-Rawda," said the information official at Saleh's office, Nabil al-Soufi.

"Sanaa today sends a message to the world that with our tongues and guns we will sacrifice ourselves for Yemen," al-Soufi wrote in his twitter account.

The supporters, wearing traditional tribal clothes with daggers on their waists and some carrying rifles on their shoulders, held banners and portraits of leaders, Saleh and al-Houthi.

"We came today to Al-Sabeen rally to support chiefs, Saleh and Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, and to call for an immediate end to the Saudi air aggression," said 30-year-old Ali Motahar, who is a soldier with the Central Security Forces.

Osama al-Joumari, a 25-year-old worker at a grocery, said: "If you love your country, you should attend both rallies to demand for immediate halt to the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen."

For Moneer Abdullah, a 34-year-old tailor, "the message of the rallies today is aimed to the world and the United Nations to stop war."

"This war has been killing civilians and children and destroying our homes. This must be stopped and this is my message to the world and the United Nations," said Abdullah.

But no one in these rallies talked to their leaders' involvement in triggering this war. They are in fact telling one side story.

Back on Sept. 21, 2014, Houthi fighters backed by Saleh's republican Guards forces took over the capital Sanaa by force, imprisoning the internationally recognized President Hadi and his government's members.

Houthis and Saleh's military loyalists later sent fighter jets from Sanaa to attack Aden after Hadi and members of his government managed to escape Sanaa. Houthis and Saleh also dispatched ground troops to tighten grips on the other southern cities.

They went after Hadi and his government in Aden, forcing them under deadly attacks to run into exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

The rebel groups then launched large-scale military maneuver near the Saudi border and air a message not to interfere in the Yemeni internal affairs. These were nearly some acts of war before triggering the Saudi intervention a year later on March 26, 2015.

However, residents in the southern provinces of Taiz, Aden, al-Dhalea, Lahj, Abyan and parts of the northeastern province of Marib, which have been recaptured by coalition-backed Hadi forces since July last year, staged rallies to celebrate the one-year-old war and called for continuing Saudi-led coalition airstrikes against Houthi and Saleh's forces.

"Oh King Salman airstrike them, we are here on the ground beating them," they chanted in those liberated cities, referring to Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

Hadi also made a speech broadcasted from Riyadh, the Saudi capital, praising the one-year-old war and the support of the Saudi-led coalition.

"One year on, we the legitimacy are approaching to liberate all Yemen and thanks to the support by the Saudi-led coalition," Hadi said in his speech to mark one year since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen's conflict by an official demand from Hadi's government.

"We are about to restore Yemen from the hands of those rebels who are about to surrender after one year of pressures from our forces and the Saudi-led coalition air bombing," Hadi added.

The war and airstrikes have killed more than 6,200 people, mostly civilians. UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed announced a cease-fire between Yemeni rival forces on April 10 and a new round of peace talks a week later in Kuwait.

Previous attempts to implement a truce in Yemen have failed to hold for long, with each side accusing the other of immediately violating the cease-fire.


Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
arabtoday arabtoday arabtoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabs, Arab, Arab