Tribal fighters loyal to the Yemeni government stand by a tank in al-Faza area near Hodeida, Yemen June 1, 2018.

  • The Saudi-led coalition’s assault on Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah, the largest battle thus far in the three-year war, is still raging. 
  • The operation, codenamed Golden Victory, started early Wednesday and is spearheaded by UAE and consists of a double envelopment of Hodeidah. 
  • Bedlem has ensued since the operation began. 

The assault on Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah, the largest battle thus far in the three-year war, is still ongoing after a United Arab Emirates warship was reportedly struck by two Iranian-backed Houthi missiles on Wednesday. 

The Saudi-led coalition launched the assault, which is spearheaded by the UAE and codenamed Golden Victory, on Hodeidah early Wednesday to take the port city from the Houthis.

The coalition has said that the Houthis bring ballistic missiles from Iran into Hodeidah and use the port city as a main source of income. 

The operation appears to be a double envelopment, with about 21,000 coalition fighters descending on Hodeidah from the south, west and east, according to Reuters and CBS

As of Thursday afternoon, coalition fighters were less than two miles from the airport on the south side of Hodeidah, and slowly making their way into the city, Reuters reported.

Houthi supporters hold up rifles as they rally to protest the killing of Saleh al-Samad, a senior Houthi official, by a Saudi-led coalition air strike in Hodeidah, Yemen April 25, 2018.

But Bedlam has essentially ensued since the operation began.

A UAE warship trying to reach shore was reportedly hit by two Houthi missiles and caught fire, at least several dozens of fighters on both sides have been killed, civilians in Hodeidah are reportedly fleeing, the coalition has conducted dozens of airstrikes, and the Houthis have fired missiles at Saudi Arabia. 

The UN has warned that the assault could end up killing as many as 250,000 civilians and exacerbate the already terrible humanitarian condition, as Hodeidah is the main hub for delivering humanitarian aid into the country where millions are living on the brink of famine. 

Meanwhile, the Houthi have sent forces to Hodeidah from across Yemen to reinforce their lines, according to Middle East Eye. 

“The Houthis have gathered a large number of their fighters in the city and on the outskirts,” Bassim al-Jenani, a freelance Yemeni journalist, told Middle East Eye. “They’ve brought in armoured vehicles and tanks into the city. At this moment they’ve dug up trenches and scattered landmines at the entrance of the coastal city.”

The US marginally backs the Saudi-led coalition, announcing on Monday that it’s helping show the coalition which targets not to hit in order to limit civilian casualties.

Pro-Houthi police trooper stands past a patrol vehicle in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah

The US also helps the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen with “limited intelligence sharing,” aerial refueling for coalition jets, and training to make coalition airstrikes more precise, Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway previously told Business Insider.

Although the coalition has “exhausted” all diplomatic means, and insists that humanitarian aid will continue once the operation is complete, the US is trying to distance itself from the assault, according to CBS. 

“The situation is dire and we don’t know how it will end,” Khadija, a teacher in Hodeidah, told Reuters.

SEE ALSO: A Saudi-led coalition warship was struck and 250 Houthi fighters were reportedly killed in assault on Yemeni city

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