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United Nations chief demands Yemen peace, warns of humanitarian 'precipice'

04 November 2018

A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Friday it attacked an airbase in Sanaa.

Geert Cappelaere also told The Associated Press in an interview from Yemen that a USA call for a cease-fire is imperative to end the "brutal war".

Al-Masirah TV, controlled by Yemeni rebel group Houthi, said more than 30 air strikes targeted al-Dulaimi Air Base in Sanaa and the surrounding areas.

Iranian and Yemeni media reported that a Yemeni Qasif-1 (Striker-1) combat drone had hit the King Khalid airbase without giving details of damage or casualties.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told several reporters Friday that Moscow has "been advocating for the early, immediate cessation of hostilities wherever - in and around Hodeida, elsewhere, because we believe in a political solution".

President Hadi said in a telephone conversation with the Yemeni Army's brigadier general that "the Houthi flag would fall and the Republic of Yemen's flag would rise above the peaks of the Maran Mountains".

He visited the Red Sea port city of Hodeida and the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, over the past two days as clashes and airstrikes intensified. The assault followed reports this week of the coalition sending more than 10,000 reinforcements toward Hodeida via a southwestern coastal route.

The airstrikes in Sanaa came days after a US call for an urgent halt to the Saudi-Iran proxy war in Yemen and the start of negotiations in November toward a political settlement of the conflict. The fresh offensive could be created to pressure the Houthis to come to the negotiating table, which the rebels have so far avoided.

Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country.

Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States - which sells weapons worth billions of dollars and provides logistical support to the coalition - has come under heavy criticism for its conduct of the war that has left thousands dead and injured.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates lead a regional coalition that is seeking to oust the Houthis and restore Yemen's internationally recognized government.

Saudi and UAE officials have yet to comment on the U.S. call for a ceasefire and peace talks at all. More than 3 million have been forced to flee their houses, and a cholera epidemic is raging.

United Nations chief demands Yemen peace, warns of humanitarian 'precipice'