İrem UZUN -TDO- (18.02.2020)- Yemen's Houthi rebels say more than 30 civilians have been killed in air raids carried out by a Saudi-UAE-led military coalition, with the United Nations confirming the death toll as it deplored a "shocking" failure to protect the war-torn country's unarmed population. The insurgents reported multiple coalition air strikes on Saturday in the Huthi-controlled area where the plane went down as local residents gathered near the smoldering wreckage, according to the rebels’ Al-Masirah television. The escalation follows fierce fighting around the Huthi-held capital Sanaa, with the rebels seen to be advancing on several fronts towards Al-Hazm, the regional capital of Al-Jawf.

Saturday's air raids in northern al-Jawf province came hours after the Houthis said they had shot down a Saudi fighter jet in the same area with an advanced surface-to-air missile. Two Saudi fighter pilots were missing after they shot down a Saudi jet, a potential escalation in their five-year war.

“Preliminary field reports indicate that on 15 February as many as 31 civilians were killed and 12 others injured in strikes that hit Al-Hayjah area... In Al-Jawf governorate,” said a statement from the office of the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. Humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande said that “Under international humanitarian law, parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility. It’s shocking.”

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