Coalition says to open Yemen humanitarian corridors

Coalition spokesman says Saudi-led military alliance is working with UN to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in delivery of aid between Hodeidah and Sanaa.

RIYADH - A Saudi-led military alliance fighting in Yemen said Monday it would open humanitarian corridors between two key rebel held areas - the Red Sea city of Hodeidah and the capital Sanaa - in coordination with the UN.

"The coalition is working with (UN humanitarian agency) OCHA in Yemen to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in the delivery of aid... between Hodeidah and Sanaa," coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh.

The coalition aims to open three corridors on different routes between the cities for the transportation of humanitarian aid between 6 am and 6 pm daily, Maliki said without specifying a date.

The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, last week renewed a large-scale offensive on Hodeidah, raising fears of a deepening humanitarian crisis.

Yemen's Huthi rebels, linked to Saudi arch-rival Iran, seized both Hodeidah and Sanaa in 2014, forcing the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee south.

The coalition launched a major operation to retake Hodeidah in June, which was put on hold for 11 weeks as the United Nations struggled to bring warring parties to peace talks in Geneva.

But the talks collapsed this month after the Huthis refused to attend over what they said was the United Nations' failure to guarantee a safe return to Sanaa.

Hodeidah port is a vital lifeline for aid shipments to Yemen, the most impoverished country in the Arab world.

The UN has warned that any major fighting could halt the distribution of food to eight million Yemenis dependent on aid to survive.