UPDATE – Bill to end support for Yemen war clears US House

            ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT</p>  <p>By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday that would require President Donald Trump to halt U.S. assistance for the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen. </p>  <p>The bill will now head to the Senate for consideration following the 248-177 vote. </p>  <p>&quot;Today is historic. This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen,&quot; Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, who spearheaded the bill, said in a statement after the vote.</p>  <p>&quot;I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role,&quot; he added. </p>  <p>If the War Powers Resolution -- in part a response to Saudi Arabia's killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi -- is able to clear the Senate, it will head to Trump's desk, where it will likely be vetoed. The White House has previously threatened the measure. </p>  <p>Regardless, if it clears the Senate, it would mark the first time federal lawmakers checked a president's authority to use military force under a 1973 bill intended to allow Congress to do so if a president committed forces without a formal declaration of war.</p>  <p>A measure similar to the one that cleared the House Wednesday had passed the Republican-held Senate 56 to 41 in December. </p>  <p>It failed to clear the legislature last year when the then-Republican House leadership blocked it from progressing. The chamber has since switched hands, allowing for the revamped measure to clear the House.</p>  <p>If Trump does issue a veto of the legislation, it would be the first time he has done so in his presidency. </p>  <p>While Khashoggi's death certainly plays a role in the bill's congressional momentum, so too does Yemen's spiraling humanitarian catastrophe.</p>  <p>Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of countries against Yemen's Houthi rebels since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began the year prior. </p>  <p>The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has devastated the country's infrastructure, including its health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.</p>  <p> 

UN envoy flies to Saudi from rebel-held Sanaa

By Mohamed al-Samei

SANAA, Yemen (AA) – UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths flew to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after holding talks with Houthi rebels in Sanaa.

The envoy's plane left Sanaa Airport to Riyadh, a source at the airport said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In Riyadh, Griffiths is expected to meet with Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and other Yemeni officials for talks about a UN-brokered ceasefire deal between the government and rebels.

On Dec. 13, Yemeni peace talks held in Sweden concluded with a ceasefire deal in the coastal al-Hudaydah province between Houthis and the Yemeni government.

However, the warring parties have failed to withdraw from the province amid accusations of breaching the agreement.

Impoverished Yemen has remained dogged by violence since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including Sanaa.

Yemen: UN envoy arrives in rebel-held Sanaa for talks

By Mohamed al-Samei

SANAA, Yemen (AA) – UN peace envoy Martin Griffiths and head of UN observer mission Michael Lollesgaard arrived in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday.

Griffiths will hold talks with Houthi rebels on ways of implementing a UN-brokered ceasefire in the coastal province of Al-Hudaydah, said a local source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The UN envoy will also meet with Lollesgaard, who arrived in the rebel-held capital from the southern city of Aden, the source said.

On December 13, Yemeni peace talks held in Sweden concluded with a ceasefire deal in Al-Hudaydah between Houthis and the Yemeni government.

However, the warring parties have failed to withdraw from the province amid accusations of breaching the agreement.

Impoverished Yemen has remained dogged by violence since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including Sanaa.

Jordan to host second round of Yemen talks Tuesday

            <p>By Laith Juneidi </p>    <p>AMMAN (AA) – Jordan will host a second round of talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels on Tuesday.</p>  <p>A supervisory committee mandated with discussing a propose prisoner swap between the two sides is set to convene on Feb. 5, according to a statement released by UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths.</p>  <p>The committee reportedly includes representatives of the Yemeni government, the Houthis and the UN.</p>  <p>On Saturday, Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sufyan Qudah confirmed that Amman had agreed to Griffiths’ request to host the meeting later this week. </p>  <p>Talks are aimed at hammering out a prisoner-exchange deal between Yemen’s Aden-based government and the Sanaa-based rebel group.</p>  <p>Last month, Jordan hosted a first round of talks between the two sides in hopes of reaching a mutually-acceptable prisoner-exchange agreement. </p>  <p>Late last year, peace talks in Sweden ended with a ceasefire being declared in Yemen’s coastal Al-Hudaydah province. </p>  <p>Since then, however, the warring parties have both failed to withdraw from the province in line with the terms of the Stockholm agreement.</p> 

Jordan to host second round of Yemeni peace talks

By Laith Joneidi

AMMAN (AA) – Jordan on Saturday agreed to host a second round of peace talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, according to the country’s foreign ministry.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Sufyan Qudah said Amman "agreed to a request by UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to host the meeting next week".

The talks will be dedicated to tackle the issue of prisoners exchange between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, he said. Qudah, however, did not specify a starting date for the talks.

In January, Jordan hosted the first meeting of prisoners exchange between the Yemeni government and Houthis.

On December 13, Yemeni peace talks held in Sweden concluded with a ceasefire deal in the coastal Al-Hudaydah province.

However, the warring parties have failed to withdraw from the province amid accusations of breaching the deal.

Impoverished Yemen has remained dogged by violence since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

Rebel commander dies of ‘heart attack’: Houthis

            <p>By Mohamed al-Samei</p>  <p>SANAA, Yemen (AA) – Yemen’s Houthi rebel group on Thursday announced that one of its commanders had died of a &quot;heart attack&quot; while Saudi media said he was killed in a military operation.</p>  <p>Abdel-Aziz bin Habtour, leader of the Houthi administration in Sanaa, has publicly expressed condolences to the family of Ibrahim al-Shami, who had led the Houthis' air-defense forces.</p>  <p>Bin Habtour praised the slain commander, saying he had “defended the homeland against Saudi and Emirati aggression”.</p>  <p>According to the Houthi-run Saba News Agency, al-Shami died after suffering a heart attack.</p>  <p>Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya television channel, however, said the rebel commander had been killed in an &quot;intelligence operation&quot; carried out by a Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.</p>  <p>&quot;Multiple sources in Sanaa confirm that al-Shami died under mysterious circumstances,&quot; the broadcaster claimed.</p>  <p>It added: &quot;The body of al-Shami, who had been responsible for launching ballistic missiles and drones, was covertly taken to a hospital in Sanaa.”</p>  <p>Claims made by both sides have yet to be independently verified.</p>  <p>On Sunday, Mohamed Saleh Tammah, head of Yemen’s military intelligence apparatus, succumbed to injuries sustained last week in a Houthi drone attack.</p>  <p>One week ago, four Yemeni soldiers were killed and 10 others injured -- including high-ranking officers -- in a Houthi drone attack in the southern Lahij province.</p>  <p>Since 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have waged a massive military campaign against the Houthis, who had overrun much of Yemen -- including capital Sanaa -- one year earlier.</p> 

Jordan to host Yemeni peace talks

By Laith Joneidi

AMMAN (AA) – Jordan on Tuesday agreed to host a second round of peace talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, according to the country’s foreign minister.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Sufyan Qudah said Amman "agreed to a request by UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to host the meeting".

The talks will be dedicated to tackle the issue of prisoners exchange between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, he said.

Qudah, however, did not specify a starting date for the talks.

On December 13, Yemeni peace talks held in Sweden concluded with a ceasefire deal in the coastal Al-Hudaydah province.

However, the warring parties have failed to withdraw from the province amid accusations of breaching the deal.

Impoverished Yemen has remained dogged by violence since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

Jordan to host Yemeni peace talks

By Laith Joneidi

AMMAN (AA) – Jordan on Tuesday agreed to host a second round of peace talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, according to the country’s foreign minister.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Sufyan Qudah said Amman "agreed to a request by UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to host the meeting".

The talks will be dedicated to tackle the issue of prisoners exchange between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels, he said.

Qudah, however, did not specify a starting date for the talks.

On December 13, Yemeni peace talks held in Sweden concluded with a ceasefire deal in the coastal Al-Hudaydah province.

However, the warring parties have failed to withdraw from the province amid accusations of breaching the deal.

Impoverished Yemen has remained dogged by violence since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

Residents of Yemen’s Taiz hope for peace after truce

            By Ismet Karakas <br>  </p>  <p>TAIZ, Yemen (AA) – Residents of the war-ravaged city of Taiz, Yemen’s largest city after Sanaa and Aden, are hoping life will return to normal in the wake of a recent ceasefire deal signed between the government and Houthi rebels. <br>  </p>  <p>Anadolu Agency visited Taiz’s Jahmaliyyah district, which was massively damaged in recent clashes between the two warring parties in southwestern Yemen. <br>  </p>  <p>Buildings in areas once controlled by the rebels and the Daesh terrorist group -- along with much local infrastructure -- have been reduced to rubble, while most residents have fled the area.</p>  <p>Basic needs, including water and electricity, are in short supply, while the children lack access to education. <br>  </p>  <p>Jahmaliyyah resident Riyad Abdullah Abdulhamid said he, along with seven relatives, had lived in the neighborhood a long time. <br>  </p>  <p>According to Abdulhamid, the area used to be stable -- albeit impoverished -- before the war. <br>  </p>  <p>Residents, he told Anadolu Agency, had borne the brunt of the crisis, including acute food shortages. <br>  </p>  <p>&quot;With the outbreak of the war, our neighborhood was severely affected,” he said. “Electricity and water were cut, and due to explosives placed underground, our infrastructure and sewer system collapsed.”</p>  <p>“Most residents were forced to leave, as it had become a warzone,” he added. “We returned home in 2016 after Jahmaliyyah was liberated [from the Houthis].” <br>  </p>  <p>But clashes continued to erupt intermittently, Abdulhamid said, even though government forces had gained control of the area. <br>  </p>  <p>“We were seeing up to 70 bombings per day carried out by the Houthis and Daesh,” he recalled. “The latter were trying to show the world that Jahmaliyyah was under its total control.&quot; <br>  </p>  <p>&quot;At that time, the Houthis were using our neighborhood as a headquarters,” he said. “Firing randomly, the Houthis at one point attempted to drive Daesh from the area.” <br>  </p>  <p>Abdulhamid went on to urge the Turkish Red Crescent to continue sending humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, with whom, he pointed out, Turkey had shared deep bonds since the Ottoman era. <br>  </p>  <p>Mohamed al-Amiri, another Jahmaliyyah resident who sustained a bullet wound to his head earlier this year during one of the clashes, thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish people for their continued largesse. <br>  </p>  <p>Yemen has been dogged by conflict since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa, forcing the government to take up temporary residence in the coastal city of Aden. <br>  </p>  <p>The following year, Saudi Arabia and several of its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at retaking Houthi-held territory on behalf of the country’s pro-Saudi government. <br>  </p>  <p>The campaign has devastated much of Yemen's basic infrastructure, including health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”. <br>  </p>  <p>*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara

Turkey's UID, Kizilay launch aid campaign for Yemen

            By Mesut Zeyrek</p>  <p>COLOGNE, Germany (AA) – The Union of International Democrats (UID) and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) launched an aid campaign Thursday to raise money for people in war-torn Yemen. </p>  <p>&quot;11.3 million Yemeni children face death due to hunger, thirst, disease and lack of medical supplies, and unfortunately, every 10 minutes, a child is killed in Yemen,&quot; Bulent Bilgi, head of the UID, told reporters at the union's headquarters in Berlin, Germany.</p>  <p>Calling on especially those living in European countries to help Yemen, Bilgi said almost 22 million people, or 60 percent of the country's population, need immediate humanitarian aid.</p>  <p>Bilgi recalled that thousands of people were killed and tens of thousands were injured in Yemen during conflicts ongoing since 2015.</p>  <p>&quot;Millions of people were displaced because of conflicts. As a country importing food, medical supplies and fuel oil, Yemen is in a major crisis,&quot; Bilgi said, urging people not to turn blind eye to the humanitarian tragedy in Yemen.</p>  <p>Yemen has been dogged by conflict since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sana’a, forcing the government to take up temporary residence in the coastal city of Aden. </p>  <p>In 2015, Saudi Arabia and several of its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains. </p>  <p>While the Saudi-led coalition has succeeded in wresting some territory back from the Houthis, the Shia rebel group remains firmly ensconced in Sana’a and in several other parts of the country.