French special forces are reportedly present on the ground in Yemen supporting the Saudi-led military operation in the port city of Hudaydah
A report in Le Figaro newspaper on Saturday cited two military sources but provided no further details as Saudi Arabia claimed that forces under its command had entered the airport in Hudaydah.
The densely populated coastal city is the last humanitarian lifeline in the war-torn country, responsible for feeding some 8.4 million people.
A student living near the port told Reuters:
“People are scared. The warships are terrifying and warplanes are flying overhead all the time…People are fleeing the city to the countryside, but for those with no relatives there or money, there is no escape.”
France, along with the United States and Britain are backing Saudi Arabia in the Yemen conflict and are providing arms to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Press TV reports: The French Defense Ministry said on Friday that France was studying the possibility of carrying out a mine-sweeping operation to provide access to Hudaydah once Saudi Arabia and the UAE had wrapped up their military operations.
The ministry stressed that France at this stage had no military operations in the Hudaydah region and was not part of the Saudi offensive.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam, however, said British and French warships are on standby on Yemen’s western coast to launch missile and aerial attacks.
Abdulsalam told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that the Hudaydah assault is an American-British operation as the aggressor states – Saudi Arabia and the UAE – are not capable of launching such a campaign.
Abdulsalam also hailed counter-attacks by the Houthis against the Western-sponsored aggressors.
“The enemies, who are not committed to moral values, have failed to achieve their objectives in Yemen’s western coastline and thus resorted to psychological warfare,” he added.
The assault was launched on Wednesday despite UN warnings that it would compound the impoverished nation’s humanitarian crisis.
More than 70 percent of Yemeni imports pass through Hudaydah’s docks and the fighting has raised UN fears of humanitarian catastrophe in a country already teetering on the brink of famine.
The UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived in the capital Sana’a on Saturday for talks on Hudaydah.
He was reportedly expected to propose to Houthi leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee to avoid further fighting.
The Houthi spokesman said Griffiths had so far done nothing to resolve the Yemen crisis despite his numerous visits to Sana’a and talks with Yemeni officials.
The UN envoy’s measures are only meant to cover up the continuation of the Saudi-led war on Yemen, Abdulsalam noted, stressing that if Griffiths follows his predecessor’s lead, he would fail to settle the conflict.
Yemeni War Report – June 14, 2018: Battle For Hudaydah courtesy of South Front
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