Saudi-led coalition ends Yemen airstrikes

22 April 2015

Riyadh to focus on finding political solution to Yemen crisis

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab governments has called off its campaign of air strikes in Yemen, to focus on reaching a political solution to the security crisis.

Riyadh and an eight-strong group of political allies started the month-long offensive to counter the spread of Houthi rebels, which have moved south after seizing the capital Sana’a.

Saudi Arabia announced that the airstrike campaign, codenamed Operation Decisive Storm, would be replaced by Operation Restoring Hope – aimed at reviving diplomacy, repatriating foreign nationals and reviving aid.

Riyadh had been considering a ground offensive against the Houthis, saying in late March it was gathering troops along the border of Yemen in preparation, but this no longer appears to be part of its strategy.

It is unclear how successful Riyadh’s bombing campaign since it began on 25 April. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that at least 648 civilians had died in strikes, with some hitting non-military targets such as schools and hospitals.

Saudi Arabia is aiming to restore the internationally recognised president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, to power. Hadi fled to Riyadh from the southern city of Aden before the start of Operation Decisive Storm late last month.

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