Lifting Sanaa Airport's Legal Protection: Qualitative Escalation and Political Deadlock


Tue, 21-12-2021 02:46 PM, Aden

Sanaa (South24)

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition announced yesterday lifting the legal protection imposed on the Sanaa International Airport in a move deemed by military experts as a new and serious transformation in the path of war which reflects a deadlock in the peace prospects.

In a statement, broadcast by Saudi TV, the Coalition stated that this move came "in light of 2nd Paragraph, Article 52 of the Additional Protocol" to International Humanitarian Law, which deals with the humanitarian situation in wars and armed conflicts.

The Coalition pointed out that lifting protection from Sanaa Airport is a response against the Iran-backed Houthis' use of the airport facilities to carry out "cross-border attacks" which target civilians in Saudi Arabia.

In response, Military expert, Brigadier General Thabet Hussein Saleh said that the Coalition's declaration means that Sanaa International Airport became a legitimate military target due the Houthis' violation of the international laws of war charters regarding the neutralization of civil targets, interests and rights in the armed conflicts.

Brigadier General Thabet told "South24'' that this development in the path of war "is considered a new qualitative dangerous escalation, which clearly reveals the deadlock in the prospects of the political track".

On Monday evening, The Coalition asked civilians and international organizations to leave Sanaa Airport before carrying out a number of raids on it.

 Local sources in Sanaa told "South24" that the raids were the fiercest in months.

Media outlets, affiliated with the Houthis, said that 3 raids targeted the airport, while two others struck the Al-Nahdain area.

The Coalition's statement pointed out that the aerial strikes against the Airport included 6 locations used for managing the drone and bomb attacks in addition to "two drone depots". A training location and a residence for the trainers and trainees in the airport have also been targeted. 

The Coalition stressed that those operations against Sanaa Airport won't have any impact on the operational capability in the Airport.

In statements to the Saudi TV, "the Coalition Spokesman, Brigadier General Turki Al-Maliki, said that they informed the Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen one hour before the Sanaa Airport strikes.

Al-Maliki warned the Houthis who control Sanaa and most areas in North Yemen "to not misinterpret the policy of self-restraint" adding that the Coalition provided a space for the political moves seeking for solving the crisis in Yemen.

Out of service 
For his part, the Houthi official and the Undersecretary of the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Sanaa, Raed Jaba said: "The Coalition's strikes directly targeted the Sanaa International Airport making it out of service".

He asked "the United Nation to immediately move and stop these strikes" according to the Houthi-affiliate Al-Masirah TV channel.

Sanaa has witnessed intensified bombing operations since more than two months after months of silence.

For more than 3 years, the frequency of the Houthi attacks on Saudi territory with drones and ballistic missiles has escalated.

Two weeks ago, the Coalition declassified videos which showed Yemeni and foreign members while testing missiles during the passage of a UN plane at Sanaa Airport.

Although the Saudi air defences thwarted 90% of the Houthi attacks, according to estimates, some of them pose imminent and real threat against Saudi military bases and civil airports southern the Kingdom In addition to facilities related to the oil sector.

Separately, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, announced this morning, Tuesday, that Iran's diplomate to the Houthis, Hassan Erlo died of "COVID19 infection", according to the Iranian Mehr News Agency.

Last Sunday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that Hassan Erlo was moved from Sanaa to Tehran on an Iraqi plane with regional arrangement, in reference to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

South24 Center for News and Studies
Photo: Sanaa Airport (archive)

North YemenSanaaHouthiSaudi ArabiaUAEIranQatarArab CoalitionWarCrisisHumanitarianUnited Nation