2,800 civilians dead in Yemen civil war: United Nations

2,800 civilians have died in nine months since civil war broke out in Yemen, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
"The on-going armed conflict in Yemen continues to take a terrible toll on civilians, with at least 81 civilians reportedly killed and 109 injured in December," said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
During the month of December, when a ceasefire was declared through a UN-brokered process -- at least 62 civilians were killed by the Saudi-led coalition forces this is more than twice the number killed in November.
The ceasefire violations began almost immediately after the ceasefire was declared said the OHCHR.
"It certainly was not very well-maintained," Colville said regarding the December ceasefire.
"This raises the number of civilian casualties recorded between March 26 and December 31, 2015 to 8,119 people, including 2,795 killed and 5,324 wounded," Colville added.
Airstrikes have continued through the New Years with at least 11 airstrikes in Sana'a on January 3 and January 4 and further airstrikes, the casualties from which are still undetermined, have been carried out in the early hours of this morning, said the UN human rights office.
"We have also received alarming information on the alleged use of cluster bombs by coalition forces in Hajjah Governorate," the UN spokesperson added.
The OHCHR team has found remnants of 29 cluster sub-munitions across several Yemeni districts.
During December, at least 11 civilians were allegedly killed as a result of shelling attributed to members of the Popular Committees Affiliated with the Houthis, a significant decrease compared to the 32 civilians who were reported killed by them in November, the OHCHR stated.
The Saudi-led coalition consists of some Gulf States like UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, and supported by the US, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan among other countries.
The international coalition is trying to drive out Iran-backed Houthi rebels and restore the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi who is supported by Saudi Arabia.
The last round of UN-backed peace talks were held in Switzerland beginning December 15 at the end of which the UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that some progress has been made.
The next round of peace talks for the war-stricken country is scheduled to resume on January 14.
However, the recent execution of a well-known Shiite cleric by Saudi Arabia and a heightening of tension with Iran may have an impact on the peace talks.


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