Aden (Yemen): Yemen’s Houthi group has announced that it has conducted extensive military drills marking the eighth anniversary since the intervention of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen’s conflict.
According to the Houthi-run Saba News agency on Thursday, helicopters, drones, and missiles took part in the large military drills conducted as the group is gearing up for the ninth year of fighting against “aggression”, which refers to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that started on March 26, 2015.
During the military drills, the group’s Defence Ministry warned that “the Saudi-led coalition of severe consequences if their military activities continue in Yemen’s regions”.
The war games coincide with their increased attacks on government forces’ positions in the oil-rich province of Marib in the last two days. These recent military actions by the Houthis raise fears of jeopardising international peace efforts, especially since the Yemeni government and the Houthis had agreed to exchange prisoners under UN auspices, Xinhua news agency reported.
On Monday, the Yemeni government and the Houthi militia announced that they agreed to swap more than 880 prisoners, including some Saudi nationals. The move was seen as a positive step towards resolving the conflict in Yemen, but the latest developments are causing worry that progress may be halted or reversed.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia stormed several northern cities and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa. A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in 2015 to support the Yemeni government.
The conflict brought the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of collapse causing famine and widespread suffering as well as disrupting the country’s food supply chain, leaving millions of people without access to adequate nutrition.