Yemenis take to streets of Sanaa marking two years since start of war

Yemenis take to streets of Sanaa marking two years since start of war
Supporters of the Houthi movement and Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh attend a joint rally to mark two years of the military intervention by the Saudi-led coalition, in Sanaa, Yemen March 26, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
3 years ago

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SANAA – Thousands of Yemenis rallied on the streets of Sanaa on Sunday (March 26) in support of Houthi rebels to mark the second anniversary of their fight against the Saudi-led coalition.

In rebel-held Sanaa, as coalition jets roared overhead, hundreds of thousands of people converged on al-Sabin Square in a show of support for the Shia Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and at the same time, waved banners in protest of the Saudi-led "aggression," vowing to resist to the end.

"We do not deny that the country has been ruined, with all the infrastructure in all the governorates destroyed. But this will not make us surrender - We will never surrender. We are fighting for our land and for our honor. The enemy may destroy everything we have right now, but the Yemeni people will persevere and win the war as God intended," said Ahmed Al-Qana, Minister of State for Dialogue Output and National Reconciliation in the so-called "Houthis-Saleh government.

The Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa in September 2014, prompting the government to flee.

Saudi Arabia and a mostly Gulf Arab military coalition launched thousands of air strikes and a small number of ground troops to try to dislodge the Houthis and restore Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

The Saudi-led coalition airstrikes started on March 26, 2015 and have helped the Yemeni government to retake large areas of territory from the Houthis, and have turned the rebellion into a full-blown civil war.

The Houthis, allied to Saudi Arabia's arch-enemy Iran, have progressively lost territory to the offensive but maintain control over the capital and most population centers.

The conflict has led to thousands of civilian deaths and caused what the United Nations calls a humanitarian disaster in the Arabian Peninsula country.

The Houthi movement holds the Saudi-led coalition responsible for the humanitarian and economic damage Yemen has seen in the last two years.

The two-year war has pushed Yemen to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, killing thousands and putting million people in "crisis" or "emergency" food situations, according to the United Nations.