Saudi-Backed Forces to Attack Key Yemen Aid Port

Attack on Important Port Would Put Civilians at Risk

by Jason Ditz, April 04, 2017

Early in the Saudi invasion of Yemen, Saudi warplanes destroyed the airport runways in the capital city of Sanaa, preventing airplanes carrying aid from landing. After two years of fighting, the Shi’ite Houthis who control northern Yemen have just a single naval port, Hodeidah.

Hodeidah is the route through which some 70% of food aid reaches Yemen, and is really the only way to get humanitarian aid into the Shi’ite parts of the country. That might soon change, as Saudi-backed forces say they have decided to attack and capture the port city.

Obviously this has potentially huge ramifications for aid shipments into the country, particularly the north. Saudi-backed forces control a number of ports, but don’t exactly let the deliveries into those ports get out of the territory they control.

Getting aid to Hodeidah has always been a struggle, with a Saudi-led naval blockade limiting ship access and intermittent airstrikes damaging port infrastructure. The fall of the city might make it easier for ships to get there, though again it’s likely that the aid entering the city would be prohibited from entering Shi’ite-held territory.

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