One-third of the fighters in the current conflict in Yemen are children, according to an assessment by UNICEF. “We are seeing children in battle, at checkpoints and unfortunately among [those] killed and injured,” UNICEF’s representative to Yemen said yesterday in Geneva. The first ICRC shipment of medical supplies since the start of the Saudi intervention arrived in Sanaa today. The ICRC is planning on sending another shipment, as is UNICEF, as concerns about medical shortages and a growing humanitarian crisis continue to mount. The United Nations estimates that at least 560 people have been killed since the current round of violence began in mid-March.
Pakistan’s parliament voted unanimously to remain neutral on the conflict in Yemen, rebuffing requests from Saudi Arabia that Islamabad contribute to its international war effort. The parliamentary resolution expressed concerns about “the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and its implications for peace and stability of the region.” Saudi-led airstrikes continued today, targeting weapons caches held by troops loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital.
Forty-one U.S. citizens and permanent residents trapped in Yemen have filed suit against the U.S. government, arguing that they have a legal right to evacuation by U.S. authorities.
PLO Will Not Work with Assad at Yarmouk
The Palestine Liberation Organization announced yesterday that it would not work with the Assad regime to try to oust the Islamic State from the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, citing its effort to remain neutral. “We refused to drag our people and their camps into the hellish conflict which is happening in Syria and we categorically refuse to become one of the parties involved in the armed conflict that is taking place in Yarmouk,” the statement issued in Ramallah said. The announcement comes after meetings between the PLO and the Assad regime at which Palestinian partnership with the regime to force the Islamic State out of Yarmouk was discussed. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described Yarmouk, under siege by Islamic State and Assad regime forces, as “a refugee camp [that] is beginning to resemble a death camp” and “the deepest circle of hell” in Syria’s civil war. At least 15,000 people are trapped at the camp.
- Speaking in advance of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s trip to Washington next week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech yesterday praising Iraqi and U.S. efforts to defeat the Islamic State; yesterday, Sweden announced it would send 120 troops to Iraq to participate in the international training effort there.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is wrapping up a trip to Tehran during which he worked on trade between Turkey and Iran; despite recent diplomatic tension, Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani discussed a proposal to cooperate on joint mediation efforts.
- The U.S. State Department has approved Egypt’s request to purchase 356 Hellfire air-launched missiles; if approved by Congress, it will be the first Egyptian arms purchase from the United States since military aid was restored.
- A bus in Morocco traveling from Rabat to Western Sahara struck a truck and caught fire, killing 31 people.
- The International Maritime Organization has told Egypt that it will face mandatory inspections next year as part of a necessary review; Egypt had previously volunteered for the inspections only to postponed them on four different occasions.
-J. Dana Stuster
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