Houthi commanders split over whether to accept UN offer to leave Hodeidah

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Trusted sources revealed that there are heightened disagreements among Yemen’s Houthi command over their plan of action with the current battles in Hodeidah, as well as ongoing deliberations over the UN envoy’s offer to the militia.

Griffiths proposed that the Houthis to cede control of Hodeidah’s Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee to avoid further fighting with advancing government troops.

According to the sources, which are close to Houthi command, the militia’s commanders on the front lines in Hodeidah are in disagreement over whether to take the opportunity and accept the offer amid their severe losses in the city, or to keep fighting as some of them believe that “if Hodeidah is out of their control, whether by peace or war, it will be their end.”

These disagreements have revealed differing stances by the Houthis. A previous statement done by Houthi spokesman, Mohamed Abdelsalam, stated that Griffiths’ trip to Sanaa failed and that the militia has not accepted his offer. However, Griffiths said that he received positive signals from Houthi commanders before his trip signaling that they were ready to negotiate.

Houthi commanders who insist on not surrendering Hodeidah are aware that their military resources will not be able to defeat the incoming government forces. The sources, however, said that these commanders are banking on external forces to help them, and on pressuring the international community by continuing to block humanitarian aid.

“The side that insists on fighting in Hodeidah knows that if they give it up, their cards will all have been dealt, and they will not have any advantages during negotiations,” the source added.

He said that Griffiths is insisting on meeting Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi, to discuss all of the options available to avoid further battles. The source added that Griffiths believe that the solution is in the hands of the Houthis and the Iranians.

Meanwhile, the Arab Coalition conducted airstrikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah airport on Sunday, as coalition-backed ground troops attempted to seize control from Houthi fighters inside, according to Saudi and Houthi media.
Coalition warplanes carried out five airstrikes on Hodeidah, including attacks on the airport, the Houthis’ official SABA news agency said.

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