At least 47 children were “killed or maimed” in Yemen’s civil war in January and February following a surge in violence, the United Nations children’s fund said on Saturday. Children are the “first and most to suffer”, UNICEF said, adding that at least 10,000 minors have been killed or injured since 2015, when the Saudi-led military alliance launched air raids in the Middle East’s poorest country. “Just over the first two months of this year, 47 children were reportedly killed or maimed in several locations across Yemen,” Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF representative to Yemen, said in a statement. “Since the conflict escalated in Yemen nearly seven years ago, the UN verified that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured. The actual number is likely much higher.” “Violence, misery and grief have been commonplace in Yemen with severe consequences on millions of children and families,” Duamelle said. “It is high time that a sustainable political solution is reached for people and their children to finally live in the peace they so well deserve.” The conflict has caused a collapse in basic services such as healthcare and education, with millions of people displaced and 80 percent of the population dependent on aid. More than 2,500 schools are unusable, according to UNICEF, as they have been destroyed, converted for military purposes, or used to shelter the displaced. A report released by the UN Security Council in January said nearly 2,000 children recruited by the rebels had died on the battlefield between January 2020 and May 2021.
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– Thousands of people took to the streets in Yemen’s Northwestern city of Sa’ada and elsewhere on Friday to condemn the Saudi-led coalition’s military aggression and brutal siege on the Arab country.
Marking the ‘National Day of Cry in the Face of Aggressors’, demonstrators took part in a massive rally in Sa’ada to reaffirm their resolve to continue their spirited resistance until the logical end, presstv reported.
The participants waved Yemen’s national flag and chanted vociferous slogans such as “Death to America”, “Death to House of Saud”, and “Death to Israel” while expressing rage and indignation over the Saudi-led coalition’s continued atrocities and crimes in Yemen.
“The slogan ‘Cry in the Face of Aggressors’ shattered the lengthy silence on domestic issues and exposed the conspiracies of enemies. It had an instrumental role in preserving the religious identity of Yemen,” the protesters said in a joint communiqué.
“The Yemeni nation must carry out its duties and mobilize forces en masse against enemies. We urge freedom-loving people in the Saudi-occupied Yemeni territories to stand up against coalition forces and their mercenaries, and expel them from their local communities,” they added.
The statement warned the foreign military coalition against persisting with its aggression, and emphasized that Yemen will “remain a free and independent country”.
“We warn of the danger of normalization with the Zionist enemy, and reiterate our full preparedness to side with the axis of resistance in the fight against the oppression of the Palestinian nation,” it further noted.
Elsewhere in the capital city of Sana’a, people carried Yemeni flags as well as pictures of former and current Ansarullah leaders, Hussein Badreddin Al-Houthi and Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi.
They chanted slogans against Saudi crimes in the country, and reaffirmed resolve to continue their determined resistance.
The development came as the United Nations announced that the truce between the warring Yemeni sides had been extended for two more months.
The initial two-month truce started at the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on April 2 and was set to expire on Thursday.
“I would like to announce that the parties to the conflict have agreed to the United Nations’ proposal to renew the current truce in Yemen for two additional months,” UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said.
Grundberg added that the truce extension would come into effect “when the current truce period expires, today June 2, 2022, at 19:00 Yemen time (1600 GMT)”.
“The announcement of the truce extension today shows a serious commitment from all parties to end the senseless suffering of millions of Yemenis,” the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Yemen Country Director, Erin Hutchinson, said in a statement after the announcement.
“The last two months have shown that peaceful solutions to the conflict are a real option,” he added.
Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.
The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.
While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.