Saudi troops have reportedly crossed the border into northern Yemen for the first time since the Saudi-led coalition began an air campaign against the Houthis in March .
Saudi military officials have insisted that the incursion is temporary.
Vice News reports:
Footage showing the troops on the Yemeni side of the border with the Saudi province of Jizan emerged on Wednesday a day after authorities in Riyadh said a battle for the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital of Sanaa was imminent. The news organization Al Jazeera, which is owned by the government of coalition-member Qatar, reported that military officials in Riyadh called the incursion of Saudi ground forces “temporary.”
Forces aligned against the Houthis and their allied loyalists of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s former president, have made significant gains in recent weeks, expelling the rebels from the Southern port of Aden and pushing north toward strategic cities like Taiz, Yemen’s third largest.
While Emirati special forces have reportedly taken part in some fighting in Yemen’s south, Saudi soldiers have not, and the kingdom’s commanders appeared loath to send their troops into conflict areas. Houthi rebels have repeatedly hit and in some cases killed Saudi forces guarding the border, however, and in one instance documented by a pro-Houthi television station, appeared to cross into Saudi territory.
Amid gains claimed by the coalition in Yemen, human rights officials have heavily criticized the civilian toll of the airstrikes it has carried out. According to UN figures, 73 percent of children killed in Yemen between April 1 and June 30 perished as a result of coalition airstrikes. More than 400 children have been killed since the initiation of the air campaign on March 26.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and more than twenty other groups have called for the United Nations’ Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate abuses committed in Yemen that would be similar to the body created after last year’s war in Gaza.