Houthis 'firing missiles indiscriminately' in Yemen's Marib: rights group

Houthis 'firing missiles indiscriminately' in Yemen's Marib: rights group
A statement by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday has warned that unlawful shelling in Marib has led to further displacement and worsened Yemen's humanitarian crisis.
2 min read
23 March, 2021
Houthis are trying to capture Marib from Yemen government forces [Getty]
Yemen's Iran-backed rebels are indiscriminately firing artillery and missiles into heavily populated areas of war-torn Marib, including at displaced people's camps, a report by Human Rights Watch has said on Tuesday.

Houthi's attacks on the city have caused further mass displacement and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

The rights group urged the rebels to halt "unlawful attacks" on Marib - currently subject to a Houthi offensive - and allow unimpeded humanitarian access to civilians trapped by the fighting.

"Houthi forces have committed serious abuses and shown a shocking disregard for the well-being and safety of civilians throughout the conflict," said Afrah Nasser, Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"The Houthis' indiscriminate artillery and rocket attacks toward populated areas in Marib have put displaced persons and local communities at severe risk."

Read also: Agency: Quarter of civilian casualties in Yemen are children

The US-based rights group called on all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas to minimise civilian harm.

Since February, Houthi rebels have fired scores of projectiles into Marib, which is held by Yemeni government forces.

Yemen's government foreign minister said that Houthis had fired ten ballistic missiles, which cannot discriminate between civilians and military targets, towards Marib in February.

The Saudi-led coalition has also increased strikes in Marib governorate, HRW said, citing the Yemen Data Project, which found that half of all coalition airstrikes in February struck Marib, making it the most heavily bombed governorate that month.

There are at least one million displaced people sheltering in Marib region – many in desolate camps in the surrounding desert.

The UN, which says Yemen is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis, has warned last month of disastrous consequences for civilians if the fight for Marib continues.

The Houthis - who are trying to capture Marib from Yemen government forces - already control much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, which was seized from the government in 2014, sparking the devastating conflict.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have already been killed and millions displaced in Yemen's long war, which has crippled the economy and healthcare system.

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