Saudi-backed Yemeni forces capture Hodeidah airport | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Saudi-backed Yemeni forces capture Hodeidah airport

Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces have captured the airport at Hodeidah and have started preparations for the more complex task of capturing the city and its port nine miles (15km) to the north. The port is critical to the supply of aid to the rest of the famine-struck country.

Confirmation that the airport on the southern outskirts of the city had been seized after three days of fighting came from both TV pictures and eyewitness accounts. At least 40 Houthi fighters who had held the airport were killed, but most retreated into the city, preparing to fight a potentially intense street-by-street campaign that could endanger tens of thousands of civilians.

The military advance came after the UN special envoy for Syria, Martin Griffiths, left the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, after failing to broker a ceasefire that would have seen the port taken under UN control. Griffiths provided a closed-door briefing to the UN security council by satellite link on Monday, but departed Sana’a without speaking to the press.

The security council has been divided over whether to demand a ceasefire, and Russia, its current chair, gave a downbeat assessment of the chances for a diplomatic breakthrough after the meeting. Most western states oppose the Iranian-backed Houthi takeover of Yemen, but also assert a military solution to the civil war is not possible.