UPDATED 10:09 AM PT — Sunday, February 16, 2020
Reports out of Yemen alleged a Syrian airstrike that killed dozens of people, in what has been described as a retaliatory act. The United Nations said as many as 31 Yemeni civilians died in airstrikes on Saturday that the country’s Houthi movement claimed were retaliation by a Saudi-led coalition.
“This is a farmer’s car who was going to Sanaa and he was targeted on the way,” stated an Arabic civilian.
In the latest flare-up in the five year Yemen conflict, the Iran-aligned Houthis claimed to have shot down a coalition Tornado warplane in the Houthi-controlled Al-Jawf province. They also released a video purporting to show a missile hitting the jet.
The area’s health ministry said women and children were among those killed in the subsequent coalition airstrikes. The UN office in Yemen stated preliminary field reports indicated 12 injured as well as up to 31 civilians have been killed.
Coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said on Saturday that only a Tornado warplane had crashed in Al-Jawf. Maliki later said rescue operations had been launched and that the possibility of “collateral damages” had been reported, without providing details.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 in support of the internationally-recognized government, which the Houthis ousted from the capital Sanaa in 2014.
The conflict has been widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its regional foe, Iran.