More than 2,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed since March 26, when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an air campaign against the Shia Houthi militant group in Yemen, the UN said Tuesday.
“Since the escalation of the armed conflict on March 26 and up to August 27, we have documented some 6,631 civilian casualties, including 2,112 civilian deaths and 4,519 wounded,” Cecile Pouilly, spokeswoman for the UN’s human rights agency, said at a Tuesday press conference held in Geneva.
According to the UN, nearly 100 civilians have been killed over the past two weeks alone – and scores injured – in and around the southwestern city of Taiz, which has been the scene of recent fighting between the Houthis and forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
“We are alarmed by the steep increase in the number of civilian casualties in Taiz in recent weeks, as well as the untenable humanitarian situation, which is being made worse by the blockage of supply routes into Taiz city by ‘Popular Committees’ affiliated with the Houthis,” Pouilly said.
She went on to urge all parties to the conflict “to allow and facilitate unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief”.
Yemen descended into chaos last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa. In April, the Shia militia also managed to capture Yemen’s southern Aden province, from which Hadi – along with most of his government – was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia.
In March, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive air campaign targeting Houthi positions across the country, which in recent weeks has allowed pro-Hadi forces retake most of the Aden province.
Hadi himself, however, has yet to return to the war-torn country, where recent fighting has centered around Taiz and Sanaa.
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