A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates began an assault early Wednesday on the Yemeni city of Hudaydah, seeking to oust Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who control the strategic port, the Yemeni government said.
Several days of intensive diplomacy failed to stave off the attack on Hudaydah, a city of 600,000 people and the gateway for most humanitarian aid to the country. United Nations officials and others said they feared an assault on the city would worsen what is already the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
American military officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, are wary of the assault and have warned their Arab allies that their plans could result in a quagmire and further civilian suffering.
More than 75 percent of Yemen’s population is dependent on food aid, and millions are on the brink of starvation.
Yemeni troops, trained and funded by the United Arab Emirates, led Wednesday’s ground offensive, which began around daybreak. Aid workers who have remained in Hudaydah said the center of the city remained mostly quiet, and fighting appeared to be concentrated along the city’s southern edge.
The attack began while Washington’s attention was still focused on the summit meeting between President Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. It was not immediately clear what role, if any, American military advisers would play in the campaign.
SOURCE: New York Times