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Yemen: UN chief 'extremely concerned' at escalating ground fighting and airstrikes

22 September 2015 – The United Nations Secretary-General today voiced extreme concern at the escalating ground fighting and airstrikes that have caused further devastation to Yemen's cities and an ever-growing number of civilian casualties in recent days.

In a statement, issued by his spokesperson, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled that all parties to the conflict are obligated to take all feasible precautions to avoid loss of civilian life and damage to civilian objects. He also reiterated the need for accountability for serious violations of international law that may have occurred during the conflict.

Fighting between the Government and rebel Houthi forces in the country has raged for more than a year, claiming the lives of more than 2,000 civilians.

Meanwhile, the statement further noted that the Secretary-General welcomes the release last Sunday of three Saudi citizens, two American citizens, and one British citizen by the Houthi forces.

"This measure represents a concrete and positive step in efforts to lessen tensions in the region and ease the path to a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Yemen," it added.

It underlined that the Secretary-General hopes that the release of these six foreign citizens will be followed immediately by the release of all civilians detained or held for political reasons in Yemen.

Mr. Ban also called upon all parties in the conflict to work with his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in the search for a durable political solution.

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