Following the withdrawal of Emirati-backed forces, the battles flare up again in Hodeidah, and Yemeni calls for the coalition to take a firm stand
Clashes erupted between the “Ansar Allah” group (Houthis) and the “Fourth Brigade Forces of the Tihami Resistance” in the port of Al-Hima in the Tuhayta district, south of Al-Hodeidah governorate, leaving dead and wounded on both sides, amid calls for the coalition to take a firm stance on the withdrawal of Emirati-backed forces from the governorate.
Clashes are also taking place in the vicinity of the town of Hays. Houthi media reported that the Saudi-led coalition launched 10 raids on the Hays district and the Jabaliya area in Al-Tahit in the Hodeidah Governorate, western Yemen.
Al-Hodeidah Governorate is of great importance to the parties to the conflict, as there is one of the country’s largest ports, and is located on a coastal strip overlooking the Red Sea.
The UAE-backed forces withdrew from their positions east and north-east of the coastal city of Hodeidah, in addition to areas south of the city on the edge of Hodeidah International Airport.
The withdrawal also included the Al-Durayhimi district, in addition to the coastal strip of the “Beit Al-Faqih” district, as well as the Tuhayta district.
A private source confirmed to Al Jazeera that the UAE-backed forces were supposed not to withdraw from the city of Tuhayta, but due to the lack of complete coordination and confusion, its fighters retreated, and the Houthis took control of it immediately.
Thus, the Houthis advanced to Hodeidah at a time when the UAE-backed “joint forces” have retreated in the port of Haima to the south to the Khokha district, and areas in the Hays district, in addition to the areas south of these two districts of Taiz governorate.
Commenting on what is happening in Hodeidah, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi said that the Yemenis will not accept what he described as the Iranian experience, explaining that they will make sacrifices to get rid of the rebellion of what he described as the militia and its hostile actions.
During his reception at his residence in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, of the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Muhammad Al Jaber, President Hadi praised Riyadh’s stances and support for Yemen. During the meeting, the Saudi ambassador expressed his country’s firm position in support of Yemen and its constitutional legitimacy.
In the reactions to the withdrawal of the UAE-backed forces from Hodeidah, Issam Shuraim, a member of the Yemeni Shura Council, called for the formation of an investigation committee into the withdrawal events.
He pointed out that what is happening on the West Coast is completely separate from legitimacy, and in a previous interview with Al Jazeera, Shreim considered that the UAE is using the Yemeni file to barter in other regional files.
For its part, the movement and the Tihama resistance in Yemen called on the Saudi-led coalition to take a firm stance towards the withdrawal of joint forces from several directorates in Hodeidah Governorate.
And he called for an investigation into what happened and to re-correct the situation to ensure the restoration of control over the areas from which the withdrawal was made and to reassure the people of Tihama.
The movement also called on the government to announce the fall of the Stockholm Agreement as a result of what it called Houthi practices that accompanied the unjustified unilateral withdrawal, as he put it.
On Saturday, the United Nations mission overseeing the Hodeidah agreement urged the two sides to ensure the safety of civilians, saying it had not been informed of these movements in advance.
The team of the internationally recognized Yemeni government with the mission also said in a statement that it had no prior knowledge, and warned that the Houthi advance would be a flagrant violation of the agreement.
The Southern Transitional Council, backed by the UAE, held a meeting in the city of Aden to discuss an invitation from Saudi Arabia to the head of the council, Aidarous al-Zubaidi, to visit Riyadh.
The council stated in a statement via Twitter that its presidency welcomed the invitation, and that it appreciates Saudi Arabia’s keenness to unify efforts, adding that the council’s relationship with the coalition countries will remain a strategic relationship governed by common denominators and a single destiny, according to the statement.
The coalition – led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen – announced that it had carried out 22 raids targeting vehicles and fighters of the Houthi group in Sirwah, Al-Bayda and Al-Jawf.