World, Middle East

Aid flights resume into Yemen’s rebel-held capital

After two-week suspension imposed by Saudi-led coalition, humanitarian flights are allowed back into war-weary Sanaa

Aid flights resume into Yemen’s rebel-held capital FILE PHOTO - Sanaa International AirporT, Yemen

By Mohamed al-Samei

SANAA, Yemen

Humanitarian flights into Sanaa’s international airport resumed on Wednesday after a two-week hiatus caused by a Saudi-imposed blockade on Yemen’s air- and seaports, according to an airport source.

“Humanitarian flights resumed at the airport today,” an official airport source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The same source reported that one plane carrying personnel from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a second plane from Russia -- carrying diplomats en route to Moscow’s embassy in Sanaa -- had both touched down at the airport on Wednesday.

Adnan Hizam, the ICRC’s spokesman in Yemen, confirmed the plane’s arrival in the rebel-held capital.

“The [ICRC] plane’s arrival was the result of coordination between the [Saudi-led] Arab coalition and the Yemeni side,” Hizam said in a statement.

On Nov. 6, the Saudi-led coalition announced the closure of all Yemeni air- and seaports after a ballistic missile -- allegedly launched from Yemen by Houthi militiamen -- was intercepted over Saudi capital Riyadh.

One week later, the coalition began allowing traffic through air- and seaports controlled by Yemen’s internationally-recognized government.

Yemen has been dogged by chaos since 2014, when the Shia Houthi militia overran vast swathes of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s pro-Saudi government.

According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, while millions of others remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

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