June 30, 2015

Yemen Blog: First Night in Sana’a

*Written by Nina Aqlan- Programme Officer Yemen

I have witnessed the military operation, known as Operation Decisive Storm that Saudi Arabia organised with 9 other countries….

Starting just after 2 a.m. yesterday (26 March, 2015) much of the city woke up to horrifying sounds of air strikes and anti-aircraft fire that shook the city. They seemed to be coming from every direction. The airstrikes were continuous and different parts of the city were under attack at the same time.

Luckily the electricity was still on in our neighbourhood and I was able to turn on the TV and get online to check what was going on. Phone calls and messages were non-stop the first hour as everyone frantically checked up on each other to confirm exactly what was happening! All of us endured the night in disbelief that our country was now under attack and weren’t sure how far it would escalate to. Many of the military bases that were being targeted were nearby residential areas. No one could really identify who lost their lives, who was injured or what even happened in these parts of the city until it all stopped sometime after 6 a.m.

I can say for certain that we, Yemeni civilians have nothing to do with this fight that is being held on our land. Yemen has turned into a battle field for Iran and Saudi Arabia to fight on while neither one of them seem to be concerned with the serious ramifications this military operation will   result   in; for the loss of innocent civilian lives and the destruction and psychological affects it will leave us with.

We want this war to stop. They are not saving us and most certainly are not defending the legitimacy of our government. We as a people have been able to persevere and function on a daily bases through tough times in the past 3 years, from the absence of government to the Revolution in 2011.

The majority of Yemenis are regular civilians, peaceful in nature. Should this enforced external military intervention be left to take place, I’m afraid of the hatred and revenge that will follow. I see no real solution and Yemen will remain further affected by an ever increasing humanitarian crisis.

Check out the ‘Everyday Yemen’ campaign featuring striking photographs of everyday life in Yemen, capturing the heart and beauty of Yemeni people despite the turmoil within the country. You can find Everyday Yemen on InsagramFacebook and Twitter.

YEMEN BLOG is SPARK’s blog of stories, updates and opinions by SPARK staff, of their personal experiences of the Yemen conflict on the ground after Saudi led military intervention- Operation Decisive Storm- launched and first struck the capital, Sana’a.  If you would like to share your own experiences of the conclict, we welcome external contributions; to contribute please contact media[at]