Coalition forces cautious about collateral damage

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri

The Defense Ministry reiterated on Saturday that the coalition forces conducting military operations in Yemen are very much cautious about avoiding collateral damage and accused Houthis of targeting homes and civilians to maximize casualties with the intention of blaming them on airstrikes.

Addressing a press conference at the Riyadh air base, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri, consultant at the office of defense minister, said: “To avoid collateral damage, we are using precise intelligence inputs and reconnaissance planes to monitor Houthis’ movement and target their supply routes.”

He asserted that Houthi militants are targeting homes, causing collateral damage.

With the help of a powerpoint presentation and graphics, Al-Assiri pointed out the details with maps of Yemeni cities on how the coalition forces are successfully carrying out their operations.

“The safety of Yemeni people is our top priority and we only wish to restore the legitimate government and save Yemen from Houthi militants,” he underlined.

When Arab News asked if cluster bombs are being used in the airstrikes to completely suppress Houthi militants, he said: “We are not using cluster bombs at all.”

Responding to a query on F-15 fighter planes and if other war planes are being used in the airstrikes, Al-Assiri said that Saudi Arabia is not carrying out the military operations alone. It is a coalition of 11 nations and various fighter planes from different coalition partners are in operation, he pointed out.

He asserted that the operations will continue until the main objective of restoring the legitimate government to power is achieved.

He also said that the fighters jets would continue to pound Houthi positions until they are crippled completely.

The spokesman said that the Houthis were continuing to advance toward Saudi borders but Apache helicopters of coalition forces had struck positions to prevent a buildup of the militants.

Asked whether a ground operation is under consideration, he said that an announcement will be made if any such decision is made by the coalition.

Commenting on reports that Houthis were using ballistic and scud missiles to target coalition fighters, he observed that Yemeni army had stocks of such missiles which were taken into possession by the militants.

But he said coalition troops targeted their stockpiles and camps to destroy all their weaponry.

“We believe we have destroyed most of their stockpiles in our military operation,” he said.

He pointed out that Houthis are not like regular armies. They are using unusual warfare techniques, he said.

“We aim to completely suppress their attempts,” he added.

He reiterated that the Saudi-led airstrikes have destroyed most of the ballistic missiles that were in the possession of Houthis.

“We understand that we have destroyed their capabilities substantially,” said the spokesman, while confirming that the national air force and countries allied in Operation Decisive Storm have complete control of Yemen’s skies.


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