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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

UAE supported coalition makes advances across Yemen

Advances were made against both Houthi militants, and into the Al Qaeda stronghold of Wadi Al Masini

Yemeni government fighters wait on the front line of the battle against Houthi rebels outside Sanaa. Yemeni forces in the east of the country seized control of coastal routes used by Al Qaeda in Hadramawt province on February 14, 2018. Glen Carey / Bloomberg
Yemeni government fighters wait on the front line of the battle against Houthi rebels outside Sanaa. Yemeni forces in the east of the country seized control of coastal routes used by Al Qaeda in Hadramawt province on February 14, 2018. Glen Carey / Bloomberg

Elite Yemeni forces, supported by the Saudi-led coalition and UAE forces, have entered the Al Qaeda stronghold of Wadi Al Masini in Hadramawt province and taken control of several main routes to the coast.

The Yemeni National Army and Resistances forces supported by UAE armed forces also made advances toward Al Garahi district, south of Hodeidah province, on the country’s Red Sea coast. These advances came after the recapture of the Hays district in Yemen’s west.

It was reported that massive losses had been inflicted on Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

A military source said coalition forces were in the process of preparing a significant operation to eject Al Qaeda forces in all the areas used by the group in launching terror acts aimed at destabilising the country.

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The Emirates News Agency reported that the Houthis are fleeing the areas en masse and sustaining heavy losses in fighting along the Red Sea Coast.

It said that a number of the militiamen surrendered to the liberation forces after the siege staged of Hays and Jebel Al Dabbas.

UAE forces are providing logistics and military support to the land, air and sea operations launched by the Saudi-led coalition in addition to humanitarian aid.

The advances came as the United Nations selected a new special envoy to Yemen in veteran British mediator, Martin Griffiths.

The Yemen war began with the seizure of the capital, Sanaa, by the rebels in September 2014.

Rights group Amnesty International on Thursday accused the Houthis of using the judiciary to settle political scores, citing the case of a woman and two men who were sentenced to death last month after being held for more than a year by rebels.

Amnesty said Asmaa Al Omaisi, Saeed Al Ruwaished, and Ahmed Bawazeer were arrested at a checkpoint in Sanaa in October 2016 while on a visit to the capital from the south of Yemen. They were accused of being agents of the Arab Coalition and sentenced to death on January 30 by the Houthi-aligned Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), which handles "terrorism" and "state security" cases.

While Mr Al Ruwaished and Mr Bawazeer were granted bail before their sentencing and are now in government-controlled territory, according to Amnesty, Ms Al Omaisi remains in Houthi custody.

Yemeni activists launched a campaign earlier this month to demand the release of the mother of two.

Rawya Rageh, Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser, said the trial "followed a catalogue of grave violations and crimes under international law, some of which may also amount to war crimes".

“The defendants initially were subjected to enforced disappearance, cut off from the outside world, and secretly moved from one facility to the other. They were held in squalor in pre-trial detention for months, extorted for money, subjected to continuous humiliation and extreme physical abuse, and denied basic rights including legal counsel and family visits,” she said.

“Sentencing anyone to death after such deeply flawed proceedings is a clear violation of international law. These sentences must be quashed without delay.”