Thursday, 29 October 2015

29th Oct 2015, 7 killed 16 injured when two buses struck by Saudi led coalition airstrikes in Hawaba, Taiz, Yemen

On 29th October 2015, the Saudi led coalition airstrikes stuck two buses in the Hawaba area of Taiz governate, killing 7 and injuring 16 civilians.

This following is a translation of the video below: 

In the early hours of Thursday morning, a Saudi led coalition targeted two buses belonging to an industrial company at the Al Hawaban area, Taiz Governate, killing seven and injuring sixteen. They later terrorized citizens by intensively hovering over buildings repeatedly. Subsequently, they bombed the house of Mr Abd Al Ghani Abd Al Kareem Al Gunead in the Al Gahmalya district .The house was destroyed with no human causalities reported. One more raid was carried out on Mafraqa Zekra north of Taiz, with no reported casualties. An eyewitness stated that, “Saudi’s are explicitly targeting civilians in the cities, instead of attacking the army.”

WARNING: the following video is graphic and distressing. It is put here as evidence of war crimes, to call on the UN for an independent inquiry, and to call on Western governments to honour the Arms Treaty and to stop the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Ref: 15102901

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

28th Oct 2015, suspected banned weapons causing terrible burn injuries use in Yemen by the Saudi led coalition

On 28th October 2015, the Saudi led coalition used suspected banned weapons causing terrible flesh injuries.

This was a post to Facebook at that time:

Saudi-led coalition uses internationally prohibited weapons on Yemeni civilians.

Khaled Ali from Tihama in Al-Hodeidah governorate in Yemen is a victim of the internationally prohibited weapons used by the Saudi-led coalition on Yemeni civilians. The victims arrived to the burns center at the Republican hospital in the capital where doctors reported that they had never witnessed such brutal and violent injuries from weapons used by the coalition to date. The shrapnel injury causes a total break down of skin and muscular tissue as well as nerve and vein death and the degeneration of the muscle goes down to the bone. Doctors expressed their shock and dismay at their inability to provide assistance to the victims and have asked for foreign medical experts to assist.


The following is a translation of the video report below by Almasirah TV:

The Republican Hospital Burn Center at Sanaa received 5 cases of burns of unknown type. Four of the victims died and one, Khaled, is battling the unfamiliar deadly wounds. Khaled was injured in Tihama district by bomb fragments from a Saudi raid. Khaled is suffering from lacerated flesh, death of tissue, and arteries extended to the bone. The doctors were astonished and they are unable to provide appropriate treatment. They remarked that it was the first time in their medical experience to witness such a case, as neither condition of the burns nor the shrapnel injuries were usual. Khaled is suffering from indescribable pain, crying that he is unable to sleep morning or night.

A human rights delegation that visited the hospital confirmed the existence of several deaths with a similar description, calling on all human rights organizations in the world to send chemical and non-traditional weapons experts for assessment and guidance in handling these cases.

WARNING: the following videos and images of the incident are extremely graphic and distressing. They are put here as evidence of war crimes to call for an independent UN investigation and to call on Western countries to honour the Arms Treaty and stop the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia. 

On a positive note, Khaled was later reported to have travelled to Oman for treatment after this incident:

Ref: 15102801

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

27th Oct 2015, cluster munitions dropped by Saudi led coalition on Ahma in Yemen

On 27th October 2015, the Saudi led coalition dropped banned cluster munitions over the area of Ahma in the Sahar directorate in Yemen 40kms south of the Saudi Arabia border. At least 4 people were injured and unexploded munitions remain strewn on farmland.
The following is from an Amnesty International report:

Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces appear to have used a Brazilian variant of internationally banned cluster munitions on a residential neighbourhood in Ahma in Sa’da, northern Yemen, this week, wounding at least four people and leaving dangerous unexploded submunitions strewn around the surrounding farmland, Amnesty International said today.

The organization interviewed a number of local residents including two victims, the medical personnel treating them, an eyewitness and a local activist who visited the site shortly after the attack. Unexploded “duds” pictured at the attack site bear similarities to Brazilian-manufactured cluster bombs Saudi Arabia is known to have used in the past.

“Because cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons, their use is prohibited by customary international humanitarian law. In fact, nearly 100 states have totally banned their production, stockpiling, transfer and use, in recognition of the unique and lasting harm they cause,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

“In addition to killing and injuring civilians when they are initially used, many submunitions fail to explode upon impact and continue to pose a risk to the lives of anyone who comes into contact with them for years. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition must immediately cease their use and all sides should publicly commit never to deploy cluster munitions and agree to join the global Convention on Cluster Munitions.”

The cluster munition attack was carried out at around noon on 27 October 2015 in a residential area of Ahma, approximately 10km north-west of al-Talh in Sahar directorate, near Sa’da city. Ahma is approximately 40km south of the border with Saudi Arabia.

A local activist who visited the site several hours after the attack found three unexploded submunitions around 20m apart, one in the field of a local farm, another near a greenhouse and the third next to a mosque. The nearest military objective known to Amnesty International is a market in al-Talh, approximately 10km to the south-east, which is known to sell weapons and has been targeted by airstrikes on at least five different occasions since the start of the Saudi Arabia-led bombardment campaign in March.

Eyewitnesses described how, despite the complete absence of military aircraft, a series of rockets screamed across the sky and exploded in mid-air, followed by dozens of explosions on the ground. These accounts and the remnants found on the ground are consistent with the use of cluster munitions fired via surface-to-surface rockets, using a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

Salah al-Zar’a, 35, a local farmer, was on the main road 50m away when the strike occurred: “I was on my motorcycle going in the direction of Dhahyan with another friend, when I saw… four rockets coming down… Each went in a different direction with two minutes between each rocket. There were four explosions in the sky first and then 50 explosions when they hit the ground. They landed on a group of 30 houses and shops.”

Saleh al-Mu’awadh, 48, a farmer who has 10 children, spoke to Amnesty International over the phone from his hospital bed in al-Jamhouri hospital in Sa’da city: “I was passing by on my motorbike on the main road next to the attack site, when all I felt was pieces of shrapnel. The impact of the strike affected farms a couple of kilometres away from the site.”

According to medical personnel treating the patients, one of the injured, 25-year-old Abdelaziz Abd Rabbu is in a critical condition with shrapnel injuries to the abdomen and chest.

Abdelbari Hussein, 22, another civilian injured in the attack, told Amnesty International: “I was sitting in my shop when the attack happened. I did not hear a plane, all I heard was the explosions.” He sustained shrapnel injuries to the abdomen.

Even though the attack may have targeted Huthi and other armed groups among the civilian population, the use of inherently indiscriminate weapons like cluster munitions is absolutely prohibited by international humanitarian law. Any use of cluster weapons violates this rule.

Ref: 15102701

Monday, 26 October 2015

26th Oct 2015, MSF supported hospital in Haydan District Yemen destroyed by Saudi led coalition airstrikes

On 26th Oct 2015 at 10.30pm, the Saudi led coalition airstrikes targeted the MSF supported hospital  in Haydan District in Saada Province, Yemen.

This MSF's statement:

Yemen: MSF Hospital Destroyed by Airstrikes

Airstrikes carried out late last night by the Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen destroyed a hospital supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), MSF announced today.

The small hospital, in the Haydan District in Saada Province, was hit by several airstrikes beginning at 10:30 p.m. last night. Hospital staff and two patients managed to escape before subsequent airstrikes occurred over a two-hour period. One staff member was slightly injured while escaping. With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care.

"This attack is another illustration of a complete disregard for civilians in Yemen, where bombings have become a daily routine," said Hassan Boucenine, MSF head of mission in Yemen.
Video: Firsthand Reports from the Conflict in Yemen

The bombing of civilians and hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law and MSF is demanding that coalition forces explain the circumstances around the attack in Haydan. The hospital’s GPS coordinates were regularly shared with the Saudi-led coalition, and the roof of the facility was clearly identified with the MSF logo.

"Even 12 hours after the airstrike, I could see the smoke coming out of the facility,"
said Miriam Czech, MSF project coordinator in Saada. "The inpatient department, the outpatient department, the maternity ward, the lab, and the emergency room are all destroyed. It was the only hospital still functional in Haydan area," she said.

MSF began supporting the hospital in May. Since then, roughly 3,400 patients were treated, with an average of 200 war-wounded patients admitted to the emergency room per month.

"Yemen is in an all-out war, in which the population caught on the wrong side is considered a legitimate target," said Boucenine. "Markets, schools, roads, bridges, trucks transporting food, displaced persons' camps, and health structures have been bombed and destroyed. And the first victims are civilians."

MSF’s priority is to reestablish a new health facility as soon as possible, in order to maintain the provision of health care to the population of Haydan.

This is Amnesty International's statement:

 Yemen: Bombing of MSF hospital may amount to a war crime

The apparently deliberate targeting and destruction of a hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in northern Yemen last night, which may amount to a war crime, demands an urgent, independent and thorough investigation, Amnesty International said today.

According to sources on the ground, at around 11.30 pm on 26 October the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces allegedly carried out up to six consecutive airstrikes on Haydan Hospital, located in the Haydan Directorate in Sa’da governorate. The hospital had more than 20 people inside at the time, including three patients and various medical and other staff members. Seven staff members were injured, but could not be taken to another hospital 60km away in Sa’da until 7am due to fears of further strikes.

“The attack on Haydan Hospital appears to have been an unlawful attack causing harm to civilians and civilian objects. The consecutive airstrikes show deliberate targeting of the medical facility - this is another sad day for civilians,” said Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Hospitals and medical units must be respected and protected in all circumstances - they only lose their protection against attack if they are used for military purposes - and the destruction of this one means the loss of vital humanitarian treatment for civilians across four directorates of northern Yemen."

MSF staff confirmed the attack, saying they witnessed two consecutive airstrikes before fleeing the hospital compound. Three to four further airstrikes were reported, coming around five minutes apart. According to Hassan Boucenine, MSF head of mission in Yemen, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has the coordinates of all MSF hospitals in Yemen, including Haydan Hospital.

According to the hospital’s director Dr Ali al-Mughli, the hospital is now completely destroyed with the exception of the storage rooms. He said that while the hospital often receives injured fighters, there was no military activity in the hospital at the time of the attack.

Haydan is 60km south-west of Sa'da city, where the injured have now been taken. Dr Ali said there was a delay in taking them to the city’s al-Jamhouri hospital because airstrikes have been targeting convoys of people, meaning that even ambulances are not safe. The hospital also lost 60 litres of petrol and 1,000 litres of diesel in the strike, a huge loss at a time when fuel supplies are scarce.

This is not the first strike on a hospital in Sa'da since the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s military intervention in Yemen began last March. On 4 September 2015, the coalition reportedly bombed al-Sh’ara hospital in Razih, in the west of Sa’da governorate, resulting in the killing of six patients and the injury of six others. MSF personnel who visited the site afterwards said there was no evidence that the hospital was being used for any military purposes.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to respect and protect medical personnel and units and take every precaution to protect civilians caught up in the conflict. There must be an independent investigation into why hospitals and their patients are being targeted, rather than protected, as international humanitarian law requires,” said Philip Luther.

This is HRW's statement:

Yemen: Coalition Airstrikes Hit Hospital
Credible, Impartial Inquiry Needed into Attack

The airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition on a hospital in northern Yemen supported by Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers, MSF) on October 26, 2015, was in apparent violation of the laws of war. The attack with a half-dozen bombs destroyed Haydan Hospital, the only medical facility in the town of Haydan in the northern governorate of Saada, about 30 kilometers from the Saudi border. Two patients were injured during the evacuation of the hospital.

The MSF Yemen country director, Hassan Boucenine, told Human Rights Watch that the first strike hit the left wing of the building at about 10:30 p.m. After the first explosion, all of the patients and staff members in the hospital – there were at least 12 at the time – fled the building. Aircraft then dropped about five more bombs on the hospital, including two that did not explode and are still in the building.

“The bombing of a hospital is shocking amid increasing reports in Yemen of civilian deaths from coalition airstrikes,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. “Bombing a hospital sends a message that all medical facilities, health workers, and patients are at grave risk.”

Boucenine said that, as is standard practice to avoid becoming a target, MSF had first supplied the health center’s coordinates to the coalition about six months ago and reconfirmed them at least once a month since then. The hospital had the MSF logo and name painted on its roof.

Haydan Hospital receives support, including funding to cover staff salaries and medical supplies, from MSF, Boucenine said. It is the only medical facility within an 80-kilometer radius, and usually receives about 150 emergency cases a week. Since May 2015 the facility has treated about 3,400 wounded. The facility is now closed.

A Yemeni Health Ministry official told MSF that the attack completely destroyed the emergency room, outpatient and inpatient departments, lab, and maternity ward, and severely damaged the windows and walls of the building. The only departments that were undamaged were the x-ray department and the medical staff room.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the coalition military spokesman, told Reuters that “coalition jets had been in action over Saada governorate” but had not hit the hospital.

Since the beginning of the Saudi-led coalition air campaign on March 26, Human Rights Watch has documented more than two dozen airstrikes that appeared to be in violation of the laws of war. Human Rights Watch has not been able to ascertain that Saudi Arabia or other coalition members are investigating a single airstrike. In some instances the coalition has denied that the attacks Human Rights Watch documented were unlawful, but has not provided information to support those claims. The coalition should open an impartial, thorough, and transparent investigation into the bombing of Haydan Hospital to establish the circumstances of the attack, and make its results public. Anyone responsible for committing a war crime should be fairly prosecuted.

International humanitarian law, or the laws of war, applies to all sides in the fighting in Yemen. Deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian structures are prohibited. The laws of war require that the parties to a conflict take constant care during military operations to spare the civilian population and to “take all feasible precautions” to avoid or minimize the incidental loss of civilian life and damage to civilian objects.

Hospitals and other medical facilities are civilian objects that have special protections under the laws of war. They only lose their protection from attack if they are being used, outside their humanitarian function, to commit “acts harmful to the enemy.” Even if military forces use a hospital to store weapons or deploy able-bodied combatants, the attacking force must issue a warning to cease this misuse, setting a reasonable time limit for it to end, and attacking only after such a warning has gone unheeded.

The United Nations Security Council should remind all parties to the conflict in Yemen, including coalition members, that anyone responsible for “planning, directing, or committing acts that violate applicable international human rights law or international humanitarian law, or acts that constitute human rights abuses” is potentially subject to travel bans and asset freezes under resolution 2140. The resolution, passed in February 2014, established a sanctions committee with a mandate to sanction individuals found to be engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.

The coalition has carried out many strikes near Haydan Hospital since the beginning of the war, Boucenine said. He added that the hospital is in a village of mostly clay huts in which there was no fixed military target in the vicinity. There have been no allegations that Houthi forces are in the area or that the hospital was being used for military purposes.

The Saudi-led coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, and Sudan, has conducted an aerial campaign since March 26, 2015, throughout Yemen against Houthi forces, also known as Ansar Allah, who have controlled much of Yemen since late 2014.

The United States has said that it is providing the coalition with logistics and intelligence support. The United Kingdom has said that it is “providing technical support, precision-guided weapons and exchanging information with the Saudi Arabian armed forces through pre-existing arrangements.” Providing direct support to military operations, such as information on targets and refueling aircraft, could make the US and the UK parties to the armed conflict, and bound to apply the laws of war, including the obligation to investigate alleged violations.

The Houthis and other forces have also been responsible for indiscriminate attacks and other laws-of-war violations, Human Rights Watch said. Houthi and allied forces and opposition militias have engaged in military operations around Aden, Taizz, and other areas that have repeatedly put civilians and civilian structures such as hospitals at unnecessary risk.

“Again and again, we see coalition airstrikes that smack of violations of the laws of war, but we see no investigation into possible violations,”
Stork said.

This is the UN Secretary General's Statement: 

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Yemen

New York, 27 October 2015

The Secretary-General condemns the airstrikes by the Saudi-led Coalition that hit the Hayadeen Medical Hospital, run by Médecins Sans Frontières with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization in Sa’dah governorate. The strikes reportedly resulted in injuries to several people and the complete destruction of the facility.

The Secretary-General notes that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law. He further reminds all parties of the utmost necessity to respect their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law to prevent attacks against civilians and civilian objects. The Secretary-General calls for a prompt, effective and impartial investigation in order to ensure accountability.

The Secretary-General calls on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to immediately cease all operations, including airstrikes.

The Saudi coalition blamed MSF for giving the wrong co-ordinates of the hospital. MSF denied this and stated they clearly gave the correct co-ordinates and did so at regular intervals, the previous time just days before the boming. In addition, a large MSF symbol was painted on the roof of the hospital.

Ref: 15102601

Sunday, 25 October 2015

25th Oct 2015, food warehouse targeted by Saudi led coalition airstrikes in Sanaa Yemen, hospital damaged

On the morning of 25th October, the Saudi led coalition airstrikes targeted a food warehouse located in Sanaa, Road 45, in a residential neighbourhood. The warehouse burned to the ground along with all its food contents. The bombardment also destroyed nearby homes, shops, cars and damaged the Naser Specialist Hospital where 10 patients were injured.

The video below reports that the loss of the warehouse is devastating to traders as well as to consumers, who already suffer from food shortages due to the Saudi blockade. A few meters away from the warehouse, Naser Specialist Hospital suffered similar damage to its Surgery wing, Intensive Care Unit, and Emergency center. In brief, all facilities and their medical equipment were destroyed. Ten patients were injured and had to be transferred to hospitals in the capital Sanaa.

Civilians cried angrily in response to the destruction of the food warehouse, as seen in the video, holding packets of the damaged food of children’s sweets, cakes, and potato chips. At the hospital, doctors pointed at the damaged equipment and patients’ x-rays. They are saying that Saudis are hitting randomly, targeting civilians and their basic means of survival.

Ref: 15101501

Friday, 23 October 2015

23rd Oct 2015, two children killed when Saudi led airstrike hits home in Hadran village in Yemen

On Friday 23rd October, the Saudi led coalition airstrikes targeted a home in the village of  Hadran in the directorate of Bani Hashish, which lies West of Sanaa, killing two children and injuring their mother.

According to the grandfather of the family and owner of the house, Mr Ali Ahmed Khalid (the first speaker in the video below), the dead included his granddaughter Abeer Ali Khalid, and his grandson Murad Ali Khalid. The children's mother, the wife of Mr Ali Ahmed Khalid's son, is in a critical condition in hospital. Neighbouring houses were also damaged with other members from the same family also injured.

In the following video, one of the men says that the Saudis’ thirst for blood destroys every means of life. While the loved ones are dead, the surviving wounded become destitute, with nowhere to live except among the ruins of their home.

WARNING: The following video and photos are graphic and disturbing. They are placed here as evidence to call upon the UN for an independent inquiry and to call upon Western governments to honour the Arms Treaty and stop the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Ref: 15102301

23rd Oct 2015, 11 family members killed when family home in Haydan, North Yemen, struck by Saudi led coalition airstrike

At 2am in the morning of Friday 23rd October, the Saudi led coalition airstrikes targeted the
family home of Mr Saghir Maswadeh in the Al Kuraid district of Haydan, West Saada, in North Yemen. 11 members of the same family were killed, including 3 women, 4 children and Mr Maswadeh and his father, plus there are 2 or 3 bodies still lying under the rubble. There were 2 survivors who are in a critical condition.

WARNING: The following video and photos are graphic and distressing. They are placed here as evidence to call upon the UN for an independent inquiry and to call upon Western governments to honour the Arms Treaty and stop the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Ref: 15102302