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UN special envoy urges immediate end to deadly attacks on civilians in Yemen

Xinhua, February 17, 2017 Adjust font size:

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, on Thursday called for an immediate end to the deadly attacks on civilians in the war-torn Middle East country.

"Women and children in particular have been subjected to unspeakable suffering in this brutal conflict," said the envoy.

Ahmed made the appeal in a statement issued here after at least six women and a girl were killed and dozens of people were wounded as a result of an alleged airstrike, which hit a funeral in the Arhab district of Sanaa Governorate on Wednesday afternoon.

"Attacks on civilians are unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances," the statement said. "This should stop immediately."

"Every day, across Yemen, civilians are killed by indiscriminate attacks by all parties to the conflict on residential areas in complete disregard of the rules of international humanitarian law," the statement said.

"I call on all parties to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and respect the sanctity of civilian life," the UN envoy said in the statement.

The ongoing military clashes on the Red Sea coast is also aggravating an already catastrophic humanitarian situation, the statement noted, adding that tens of thousands of civilians have been caught in the war zone without access to humanitarian assistance and unable to flee to safety.

"The military activities in the region threaten to disrupt the import of commercial and humanitarian supplies which could have a terrible impact on the food security for large parts of the population," the statement said.

"I urge all parties to ensure the unhindered movement of commercial and humanitarian supplies, without which millions of Yemenis are at risk of death and famine," said the envoy.

"This deterioration of the humanitarian situation again underscores the need to end the violence and to achieve a sustainable cessation of hostilities and enduring solution to the Yemeni conflict through an inclusive political process," the statement added.

Earlier Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition launched an investigation into airstrike claims in Yemen that killed civilians, Saudi Press Agency reported, adding that Yemeni armed forces and rebels have clashed in the area near the capital Sanaa over recent days, and findings will be released after the end of the investigation.

The coalition declared last year responsibility for a deadly hotel bombing in Yemen, citing miscommunication as the reason. It promised revision of airstrike procedures and compensation of victims.

The coalition has been engaged in a war against Houthis in Yemen since 2015. Endi