Saudi Campaign Has Killed 1,400 Yemeni Kids, UNICEF Says

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says nearly 1,400 children have been killed in the ongoing deadly Saudi campaign against Yemen.

Meritxell Relano, UNICEF's representative in Yemen, said on Wednesday that hundreds more had been injured and many schools closed since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia started its campaign.

"Attacks on civilian areas continue to kill and injure scores of children in Yemen," Relano said, adding, "Instead of learning, children are witnessing death, war and destruction."

Relano said the actual casualty toll was likely to be much higher than the verified figures. She said that some 2,000 schools across Yemen can no longer be used because they have been damaged, destroyed or are used as shelters or for military purposes.

 Elsewhere in her remarks, the UN official called on all parties in the conflict to stop attacks on schools and protect children.

"Schools have to be zones of peace at all times, a sanctuary where children can learn, grow, play and be safe," Relano said.

"Children should never risk their lives only to attend school."

The plea follows an airstrike by Saudi warplanes near a school in northern Yemen on Tuesday. Medics said the attack killed at least five civilians, including two children.

International organizations and human rights groups have harshly criticized the regime in Riyadh for its airstrikes on Yemen, which have killed and maimed hundreds of children.

The Saudi war has so far killed over 11,400 people, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group. The war was launched in an attempt to restore power to Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a Saudi ally who has resigned as Yemen’s president but seeks to forcefully return to power.

The Yemeni army, backed by Houthi Ansarullah fighters and allied popular forces, has been defending the country against the Saudi aggression.

UK supporting Saudi genocide in Yemen: Scholar

On the other hand, The UK government’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia, which is carrying out a ‘genocide’ in Yemen, shows London’s tendency to support totalitarian regimes around the world, says a British scholar.

Dr. Rodney Shakespeare, a London-based university professor, made the remarks while discussing an official report about Britain’s sale of illegal weapons to Riyadh.

According to a letter by Defense Secretary Michael Fallon to Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, the UK exported 500 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and the munitions were later used in the kingdom’s war on Yemen.

So far, at least 11,400 Yemenis have been killed in Saudi Arabia's aggression, which began in March 2015.

“The United Kingdom engages in the disgusting business of supporting the most brutal autocratic regimes in the world,” Shakespeare told Press TV on Wednesday.

“I refer to the regime in Saudi Arabia, which is in occupation of Bahrain and we supported the occupation of Bahrain by Saudi Arabia, and we are supporting what is effectively a form of genocide by means of cluster bombs and the like in Yemen,” he added.

London has been one of the biggest suppliers of weapons to Riyadh for 40 years. The British government has also been accused of being involved in guiding the Saudi military aggression against its impoverished southern neighbor.

Massive British arms sales to Saudi Arabia have come under scrutiny for months due to the kingdom’s role in inflicting heavy civilian casualties.

In November, the UK rejected calls by two parliamentary committees and human rights groups to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty International on Monday called for “an immediate suspension of all further weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.”

“This cowardly business continues at this moment because the UK is in cahoots with regimes that suppress any form of democracy in the Middle East and the secret behind this is we are in cahoots with regimes which effectively in practice supports the expansion of Israel,” Shakespeare explained.