16:58 GMT02 August 2021
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    Saudi Arabia-led coalition warplanes bombed a market in northern Yemen, killing at least 41 people, and wounding dozens more amid what was previously an attempt to reduce hostilities and implement a "Syria-style" ceasefire.

    Forces from the Saudi-led coalition struck a market in northern Yemen's Haja province, killing 41 civilians and wounding 75, health officials told Reuters.

    Three separate air raids hit the market, according to health officials, in a violent conflict that saw Saudi Arabia's intervention after Houthi militias ousted a pro-Saudi president, who then fled to Saudi Arabia to request military aid.

    The casualties included children, and a health official told AFP that "the toll could rise." US-based Human Rights Watch has accused the Saudi-led bombings to use US-supplied cluster bombs, and the United Nations found that 119 bombings violated humanitarian law.

    Ceasefire Lost?

    The conflict in Yemen initially came to a partial pause on Tuesday, was preceded by a Russian withdrawal from Syria, following a peace deal which ended much of the fighting between the Syrian government and rebels. The deal's structure, largely accomplished through Russian diplomatic and military efforts, was also appealed to by the United States in talks over Yemen. 

    "We both agree that it would be desirable to see if we can find a similar approach, as we did in Syria, to try to get a ceasefire," US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a meeting with Saudi Arabian officials on Saturday.

    However, the tentative deal on Yemen, together with US President Barack Obama's recent interview to the Atlantic magazine, however, created a rift in the US' highly inflexible relationship with ally Saudi Arabia.

    "You accuse us of fomenting sectarian strife in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. You add insult to injury by telling us to share our world with Iran, a country that you describe as a supporter of terrorism and which you promised our king to counter its 'destabilizing activities'," senior Saudi royal Prince Turki al-Faisal wrote in an editorial published across Saudi media.

    Al-Faisal noted that the Saudis still consider Americans an ally, but the message was unique in its distribution and anger, practically unparalleled in previous squabbles over regional policy, which could mean continued defiance of a previously established course toward a drawdown of hostilities between Houthi militias and Saudi-backed forces in Yemen.


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    Yemen, Saudi Arabia, John Kerry, Turki al-Faisal, Human Rights Watch, bombing, civilian casualties, cluster bombs
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