According to numbers compiled by the Yemen Data Project, the US-backed Saudi-led coalition killed at least 155 Yemeni civilians in 2022 despite the ceasefire that took effect in April of that year.
Another 316 Yemeni civilians were injured in the airstrikes, which all took place in the first three months of the year. The Saudis significantly ramped up their bombing campaign in January 2022, making it the most violent month for civilians in Yemen since 2016.
Most of the civilian deaths took place when the Saudi coalition bombed a migrant detention facility in Sadaa, killing at least 91 civilians and injuring 236 more. The Yemen Data Project recorded three individual airstrikes in this incident.
No Saudi airstrikes have been recorded in Yemen since March 31, but despite the ceasefire, 2022 saw the highest civilian casualty rate in the Saudi air war in Yemen since 2019, demonstrating how significant the surge in bombings was during those three months. The surge came after the UN Human Rights Council voted to shut down investigations into war crimes in Yemen.
The surge in Saudi airstrikes came almost a year after President Biden vowed to end “offensive” support for the coalition in February 2021. But Biden didn’t live up to his pledge as the Pentagon admitted later that year that it was still maintaining Saudi warplanes that were bombing Yemen, support that is vital to Riyadh’s air force.
While the Saudia are notorious for bombing civilians, most civilian deaths in the war came as a result of the conditions caused by the war and blockade imposed by the coalition. According to the UN, at the end of 2021, at least 377,000 Yemenis had been killed by the war, more than half of whom died due to starvation and disease.
Saudi airstrikes still haven’t been recorded in Yemen Since March of last year, and a UN special envoy said this week that he was encouraged by a new Omani-led mediation effort. But as long as there is no lasting solution to the conflict, it could escalate at any time.