Escalation in Hodeidah. Missile sounds expose Griffith's allegations and reveal Houthi movements

Escalation in Hodeidah. Missile sounds expose Griffith's allegations and reveal Houthi movements

The Houthis continue to push events in Hodeidah province, in the opposite direction of the lull that came into effect (only theoretically) on December 18, 2018, and the daily events in the coastal city, are moving further away from the atmosphere of peace and the implementation of the Stockholm agreement, despite the attempt of UN envoy Martin Griffiths, to show them In contrast to his recent security council, which confirmed the continuation of the lull and a large-scale ceasefire in the city.

Over the past two weeks, the Houthi group has intensified its attacks on joint forces positions, which include Giants brigades, Guards of Republic and Tihama brigades, targeting residential areas in Al-Dirhimi, Tahita and the outskirts of the city.

Joint forces positions and the homes of citizens in Tahita and Hees came under heavy shelling from Houthi militias last night, as the Giants brigade’s website reported.

On Monday, the group's militants launched a large-scale and violent offensive, attempting to penetrate the front lines of the joint forces south of the city of Hodeidah, and the fighting continued until Tuesday evening, in which both sides used medium and light weapons and rocket.

The joint forces said they were able to break the attack, considering it a serious escalation toward savoring the truce, while the Houthis claimed that what happened was not an escalation but a break in attempts to advance forces loyal to the coalition, accusing the joint forces of repeatedly violating the truce.

On Thursday, the Houthis announced the death of a colonel in their forces, Me’assar Shuai al-Salmi, claiming that the man was killed in the defense of the land on the outskirts of Hodeidah.

According to sources in the joint forces, Me’assar, who belongs to Amran province, was the leader of the suicide attack carried out by the Houthis on Monday and Tuesday, trying to break through the lines of contact on Sanaa Street on the outskirts of the City of Hodeida.

According to the sources who spoke to the reporter of “Al-Masdar Online", the leader Me’assar, is the fourth leader lost by the Houthi militias during its latest escalation, since the submission of the un envoy Martin Griffiths briefed the Security Council on July 18th.

The commander of the militia's axis on the west coast, Sofyan Taleb al-Sofiani, was killed in a failed attack attempt east of the city about two weeks ago, and the head of operations of the axis, Mohammed Mohammed al-Faqih, was wounded while leading armed groups that tried to cross the lines of contact south of the city.

A fourth leader, Najib al-Razehi, a militia general supervisor in the City of Hodeidah, was killed, and the information indicates that his death was the result of internal differences within the ranks of the group, where another supervisor killed him and threw his body in the street to be reveled afterwards and the group says that he was killed in armed confrontations.

Changes and reinforcements for militias

To compensate for their losses, the Houthi militias appointed a new supervisor for their forces in Hodeidah, who is from Maran and named Abu Abdul Rahim, as well as a preventive supervisor on the frontlines of the coast from Sana'a named Abu Malik al-Khawlani, and the latter was appointed as the successor to the preventive security supervisor (internal intelligence service) Hamza al-Ghurabani. Who was killed early last month?

The joint forces accused the Houthi militias of bringing in new military reinforcements, including heavy weapons, various equipment and hundreds of fighters, and pushing them towards Hess district, southeast of the provincial capital of Hodeida.

"The Houthis pushed dozens of vehicles, heavy military vehicles, BMP vehicles, heavy artillery, and hundreds of heavily armed and medium-range fighters towards Hess Directorate," the media center of Giants brigades said.

"The Houthis pushed dozens of military vehicles carrying hundreds of gunmen from areas adjacent to the mountainous area of Tahita district south of Hodeidah, towards the outskirts of the area," the center said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

"The Houthis’ recruitment of military reinforcements is a serious escalation, as part of their violations of the UN truce," it said.

Over the past two days, militias have continued to shell various positions east of Hesse district and in the Al-Jabalyah area of Tahita, and according to the center, the intensification of the shelling in conjunction with the arrival of reinforcements of militias is an indication that the Houthis have finally torpedoed the truce.

Massacres of Musa Street and Dairy Factory

On Saturday (July 27th), the Houthis announced that the joint forces had committed a massacre by shelling the homes of three citizens on the densely populated Musa Street.

But an eyewitness from the neighborhood told a different story from the Houthis' claims, stressing that the shelling was deliberate and nearby in order to bring down the largest number of civilian casualties.

"The first shell hit the house of a family of five people who were rushed to the hospital by citizens, while a second shell , strong sound, hit the house of Al-Dhamari on the same street and scattered shrapnel in the nearby houses causing damage, but no injuries were reported," he said.

"The missile came to hit a place near our gathering as if it were directly targeting us if it were not for God's kindness," he said.

At a time when the Houthis were planning to commit a massacre of citizens and accuses  the joint forces, according to a resident of the Musa neighborhood, militias were shelling the Thabet Brothers- compound with artillery, targeting the dairy factory in the industrial and commercial complex, located in areas controlled by government forces.

The shelling caused moderate damage and injured a worker in the factory.

Over the past two weeks, attacks and repeated shelling of Houthi positions on joint forces positions and residential areas under its control have killed and injured more than 30 people, most of them civilians (children and women),as field sources said.

Marketing the illusion

In the middle of last month, the Joint Committee for Redeployment in Hodeidah, on board a seaside ship, met in the presence of government representatives and representatives of the Houthi group who arrived hours late.

The meeting was the first in months, with the last joint meeting of the Joint Commission in February, with the meetings to be suspended two months later.

The meeting did not come out again, except for the suspension of the work of the Commission and the transfer of local security files, port revenues and tripartite control to the UN envoy for decision, with consensus on what was agreed by the parties regarding the stages of redeployment, as well as strengthening the mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire.

But the meeting itself was seen by UN envoy Martin Griffiths as an achievement and a breakthrough in implementing the Hodeidah Agreement, which he described in his briefing to the Security Council as key to a comprehensive peace agreement in Yemen.

In briefing the agreement, Griffiths stressed the "operational details of all redeployments referred to in our Stockholm agreemnet," but acknowledged that there were differences and challenges over "the local security forces in particular as well as the issue of revenue."

In addition to the UN envoy's talk of progress in the lifting of the siege of Taiz and the arrival of aid, he acknowledged his extreme optimism.

However, he reiterated that the lull in Hodeidah was continuing and the ceasefire was continuing on a large scale, expressing concern about the escalation of fighting at the border.

While the UN envoy was delusional and mislead the Security Council, according to a spokesman for the joint forces on the West Coast, the militias were lying to his statement and turning on the "ceasefire control mechanisms" at the joint commission meetings, beginning with the most violent escalation since the truce came into force. Implementation, by deploying snipers in the lines of contact and bringing in new vehicles and armored vehicles, said Brig. Gen. Sadiq Dowaid, spokesman for the Guards of the Republic forces.

Observers say that the escalation of attacks by Houthi militias after the Security Council session in mid-2012 reinforces the view that the militias have turned against the Swedish agreement and are seeking to quietly thwart it, so as not to lead the government and the coalition to resume the process of liberating the city.

According to observers, the Houthis have taken advantage of UN efforts and the UN envoy's optimism that the agreement can be resolved and implemented, in strengthening their positions on the ground, fortifying them and planting mines.


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