DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi militia in Yemen said on Thursday it has stopped carrying out attacks near Sana’a or any other Yemeni city because it wants to prepare the political ground for a peaceful settlement.
The statement, made by the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition and published by the Saudi state media, followed media reports of an attack on an armoured division belonging to the Iran-aligned Houthis near the Yemeni capital.
The spokesperson, Turki Al Maliki, denied the report, adding that “no military operation has been carried out in the vicinity of Sana’a or any other Yemeni cities over the past period (..) with the aim of preparing the political ground for a peace process.”
Meanwhile, Houthi administration has started renovation work at Sana’a airport, two industry sources said, as the group that holds most of northern Yemen prepares for a possible reopening of the facility under UN-led peace efforts.
A Saudi Arabian-led coalition has controlled Yemen’s air space since 2015, when the alliance intervened against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement that ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital, Sana’a.
The coalition’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it had agreed to reopen air space and allow the airport to resume regular operations.
The industry sources told Reuters that construction work had begun in some parts of the airport, which has been closed since 2015 with the exception of UN flights.
It has been targeted dozens of times by coalition air strikes over the last six years. The military alliance says the facility is used for arms smuggling.