The Economist has reported that an assault on Al Hudaydah (Hodeida), Yemen’s main trading port, is expected in the very near future.
A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by Western nations siding with President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi is finalising plans to invade and take Hodeida from rebel forces.
UN observers have said that an attack is imminent.
A successful raid could push rebel forces into the mountains and Sana’a, Yemen’s capital.
But aid agencies and UN officials have warned that fighting over the port would aggravate Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.
Two years of war has left a quarter of Yemen’s 28 million people on the brink of starvation as the country that imports 90% of its food.
Aid agencies fear that a major assault on Hodeida would cut supply lines to the rebel-held north, including Sana’a, which would seriously impact two-thirds of Yemenis dependent on food aid.
The Economist stated: “The consequences of a raid on Hodeida will be far-reaching.
“If the attack fails, the Saudi-led coalition will be humiliated, perhaps to the point of unravelling.
“A successful assault might see the coalition wrest control of the western coast but it would worsen Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has also warned that the Saudi-led coalition’s plans to launch an assault on Hodeida will greatly impact the humanitarian situation.