RIYADH, 26th May, 2016 (WAM) – The Arab Coalition Command in Yemen said in a statement today that the coalition forces abide by international law in all their military operations across Yemen to protect civilians and their properties.

The statement referred to the aggressive acts and military hostilities committed by the Houthi militia and the former president’s forces in Yemen, as well as their seizure of weapons depots that included projectile systems from the military and security institutions in Yemen.

“In light of the United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the Yemen crisis, the hostile acts and military escalation by the Houthi militias and the former president’s forces, their takeover of power which threatened the stability and security of Yemen and neighbouring countries, the Arab coalition forces intervened in Yemen on the basis of the self- defence principle, and upon a request from the legitimate President of Yemen to restore the security and stability to Yemen and its people,” it added.

The statement underlined that the coalition command set rules of engagement in line with the international humanitarian law. These rules include the following: identification of the military targets that passes through several stages. It starts from selecting a target, analysing it and confirming it is a military target through several sources to avoid mistakes. There is a list of sites prohibited from being targeted, notably those with civilian presence, places of worship, diplomatic quarters, international governmental and non-governmental organisations and cultural sites. The list is updated constantly and sent on a periodic basis to all coalition forces units to ensure that they are aware of those restrictions.

Legal advisers shall be deployed to work with planning cells to study proposed targets and approve them so that no location is targeted unless its legitimacy and compatibility with the international humanitarian law is verified.

The coalition forces use precise and guided weapons, in spite of their high cost, in order to avoid any mistakes, collateral damage and casualties. They drop warning leaflets in the areas where military targets exist as a protective measure before any operation to ensure that civilians are not in the vicinity.

The coalition forces in Yemen constantly seek to develop capabilities of the coalition forces in the field of targeting mechanisms through specialised training courses in this field with some international centres such as (San Remo) institute for international humanitarian law, specialised in armed conflicts, and with collaboration of some friendly countries in the field of training specialists in these matters.

The coalition forces apply additional reviews on selected targets to increase the level of accuracy regarding the targeted sites.