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UN report on Yemeni children 'inaccurate': Arab Coalition

Arab Coalition spokesman says annual report ‘inaccurate’ and based on ‘unreliable facts’

Riyadh: The Saudi-led Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen has rejected the information in the annual report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict as ‘inaccurate’ and based on ‘unreliable facts’ provided by local organisations backed by the former Yemeni president.

“There were no documented cases either by photos, place or time of incident,” asserted Colonel Turki Al Malki, the coalition’s spokesperson, in a press conference in Saudi capital Riyadh on Monday.

“The National Investigation Committee on Human Rights Violations has reported that 100 children lost their lives on the battlegrounds and the Houthi militia took them to capital Sanaa where they issued death certificates.

“These figures contained many discrepancies. The committee report said there were some cases of recruitment of children aged 12 years and the coalition has reliable information which has not been shared with the UN about children aged 8 year being recruited by the Houthi militia.”

Col. Al Maliki held the Houthi militia accountable for the children who lost their lives, after they were recruited to fight in their ranks.

On the political process, Col. Al Maliki said the coalition supports the Yemeni government position and the UN-led political process.

“The Yemeni government announced its commitment to the political solution of the crisis for the interest of the Yemeni people as compared to the stubbornness shown by Houthi militia,” he said.

On the liberation of Hodeidah city and its port, he referred to the statement made recently by Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi, who described the city and its port as “twins”. There was no chance to accept the handover of the city without its port or the port without the city.

“Efforts by Martin Griffiths, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, are ongoing to find a political solution through negotiations with the coup militia,” Col. Al Maliki said.

The coalition spokesman referred to the EU’s recent statement on Yemen in which it condemned the launch of ballistic missiles by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia, including at civilian targets, and against vessels transiting through the Bab el Mandeb Strait. “We share identical points of view with the EU in this respect,” he said.

On the humanitarian operations, he said 22 air, sea and land entry points for relief from the coalition, UN and other international organisations are functioning at their full capacities.

“We have so far issued more than 26,000 entry air, sea and land permits,” he said. Over the last 24 hours, he added, one permit was issued for a ship heading to Hodeidah port, while two ships have been blocked by the Houthis for 69 days and only allowed in after the coalition exposed that.

Al Maliki added that the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) has distributed 25 relief trucks in Yemen. He pointed out that the number of beneficiaries inside Yemen, whether in areas under the control of rebels or the legitimate government has reached about 5 million.

While speaking about areas under the control of the Yemeni National Army and Popular Resistance with support of the Arab Coalition, he emphasised the continuation of military operations until goals are achieved.

Regarding the advancement achieved by the pro-government forces, backed by the Arab Coalition, in Saada, he said that there was a qualitative advance in Baqir, Al Malahiz, Al Baqa battlefronts and others areas which aimed at destroying Houthi fortifications and capabilities, while the forces took control of large quantities of weapons, defused mines and secured the regained areas.

In Al Jawf Governorate, he said the militiamen were targeted in the eastern and western highlands, Al Ghurfa, Al Hijjah and Al Sallal camp in Taiz. The forces loyal to the legitimate government have liberated Hosn Al Arnab, Al Karba Mountain, Al Holqoum, Sbeit Mountain and Al Rakiza.

He added that a location in Wadi Rasiyan, and the neighbouring highlands of Al Barah, Duwaiser Mountain, Al Dawari Mountain were liberated amid large losses in lives and equipment among the rebels.

In Al Baida, the forces loyal to the legitimate government carried out a successful military operation, during which they liberated Jabal Al Khaliqah and Khadra Al Arja.

Meanwhile, the National Army and Popular Resistance in Hodeidah are securing the airport and removing mines after taking control of complex.

The Yemeni Army has carried out an operation from south Midi towards Habal on the land and sea axes on the Red Sea, during which Habal Al Bahari was liberated and resulted in taking control of three civilian boats. Quantities of weapons and some portable missiles that threaten the regional and international security were also seized.

On other battleground, the National Army has advanced 23 kilometres and took control of the Habal Sea Harbour and Wadi Hiran and captured a number of heavy weapons.

He pointed out that the coalition possesses credible evidence confirming Iran’s provision of unmanned aircrafts to the Houthi militias.

The Arab Coalition spokesman reviewed a number of military operations carried out by the joint coalition forces against Houthi militia targets, and the quantity of mines that have been removed by the engineering teams, supported by the coalition forces, in the liberated areas.

He also mentioned 155 ballistic missiles and 66,326 projectiles were launched against Saudi Arabia until July 2, 2018.

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