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    Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels, hold their weapons as they chant slogans during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts in several Yemeni cities, in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016

    Saudi General Predicts Yemeni Conflict Will Soon Be Brought to an End

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    Commenting on the ongoing conflict in Yemen, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, spokesperson of the Saudi-led coalition forces, told Sputnik that Saudi Arabia and its allies support the Yemeni legitimate government and want to find a solution to the crisis.

    Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government, led by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and Shiite Houthi rebels, who have been supported by army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

    A Saudi-led coalition, supported by the United States, has been fighting against Houthis since 2015 to re-install the Hadi government.

    The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has called Saudi attacks on civilian areas a violation of international law, but Riyadh denied the claims.

    The legitimacy of the Yemeni government has been recognized by the majority of countries, including Russia. At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly urged for a political solution to the conflict.

    In an interview with Sputnik Arabic, al-Assiri stressed that the Saudi-led coalition regards Houthi rebels as terrorists.

    "Everyone understands that those [rebel] groups are losing. Very soon, security, stability and the legitimate government will be restored. Currently, the government controls 85 percent of the country. […] There is no place in Yemen for rebellious groups," the spokesperson said.

    Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains disastrous. According to UN data, 8,100 people died in the conflict and 20,000 were injured. The number of displaced people reached 2.3 million. Some 21 million are in need for humanitarian aid.

    According to al-Assiri, Houthi rebels are to blame for many civilian deaths in the conflict.

    "They abducted and killed a lot of people. In fact, those supporting them make up only one percent of the Yemeni population. They want to impose their will on 26 million Yemenis," he said.

    Al-Assiri also commented on a tragic incident which took place in October when a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a funeral ceremony in Sanaa killed over 100. In an official statement, the coalition admitted that the airstrike was conducted by mistake.

    "That was just one incident among thousands of combat sorties by our aircraft. The coalition did not invade Yemen, but started the operation at a request from the legitimate government. We admitted the mistake. But the entire operation should not be judged just by one incident," he said.

    Commenting on the negotiating process, al-Assiri accused the Saleh-led government of fueling the conflict.

    "The Arab coalition supports the legitimate government, including in their policies. The government spent three months on peaceful talks in Kuwait. All possible options and concessions were discussed. But the opposite party decided to carry out their own policy, and the talks failed. Houthis and the government led by Saleh fuel the conflict, by establishing a parallel government," he said.

    In conclusion, al-Assiri suggested that finally the legitimate government and its allies will "reach its goal and establish peace and stability in Yemen."

     

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    Houthi rebels, military conflict, Yemen, Saudi Arabia
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