Saudi spokesman denies coalition is blocking Yemen aid

The official spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Defense Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri speaks during news conference in Riyadh. (File: Reuters)

The Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi militias in Yemen has been coordinating with NGOs, namely the Red Cross, on delivering humanitarian aid to the embattled country, a spokesperson for the campaign said on Saturday.

Red Cross missions to Yemen will begin on Sunday with two airplanes loaded with aid scheduled to arrive in Yemen, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said without specifying time of arrival.

Asiri confirmed that the Red Cross has been contacted earlier today and that the NGO has scheduled flights tomorrow into Yemen.

However, he reiterated that all aid and evacuation efforts ‎must be coordinated with the coalition.

“We want the humanitarian aid to reach civilians, not the militias,” he said.

He further explained that the coalition set up the “Committee of Evacuation and Humanitarian aid operations” and will only work through recognized or “known” organizations namely the Red Cross and UNICEF.



As for the situation in Aden, Asiri said it is “relatively calm.” The campaign’s central command is coordinating with local armed committees who Asiri said continue to pursue the remaining Houthi militia cells in Aden.

Additionally, Saudi ground troops and border guards are targeting Houthis across the border in Yemen, he said, a day after the Interior Ministry said two Saudi border guards were killed by fire from Yemen.

As Operation Decisive Storm enters its ninth day, the Saudi-led coalition has taken a series of measures to facilitate humanitarian aid into the embattled country including the following:

• Saudi Arabia’s navy has evacuated 86 people of its own nationals as well as citizens of other countries, including the Emirati and Qatari ambassadors to Yemen along with a number of foreign journalists

• Operation Decisive Storm central command halted air strikes for two hours to allow airplanes with evacuees onboard to take off

• Saudi Arabia has opened all three border crossings allowing Egyptian nationals stranded in Yemen into the kingdom

• Central command is welcoming all rescue missions and humanitarian aid offered by NGOs and states, provided they are conducted in coordination with the coalition

 Central command has reiterated that the main aim behind Operation Decisive Storm is to guard the safety and security of Yemen’s people against the terror of the Houthi militia and its allies, Al Arabiya reported. 


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47