Historic Yemen town fights to survive as war closes in | 2018-03-06 | daily-sun.com

Historic Yemen town fights to survive as war closes in

    6 March, 2018 12:00 AM printer

ZABID: Once Yemen’s capital and famed as an architectural marvel of early Islam, the town of Zabid is fighting to survive as a brutal war closes in on its fortified walls, reports AFP.

The sand-coloured town overlooking the country’s west coast was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993 for its centuries-old urban planning and architecture, including the world’s fifth oldest mosque.

Riven by neglect and poverty, it was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage in Danger seven years later.

Yemen’s three-year war, which has killed nearly 10,000 people and pushed the country to the brink of famine, is now threatening the fate of Zabid.

So far the town has been spared in the battle between Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels and a government allied with a military coalition, led by Saudi Arabia.

But a fight for nearby Hodeida, home to Yemen’s most vital port, has raised fears the violence is closing in on Zabid.

Ahmed Hussein Ahmed says his home was damaged last month, as government forces clashed with Huthi rebels nearby.

Like other residents, he fears for both his family and his town, where homes built from baked bricks give the centuries-old skyline its trademark sandy hue against the bright blue Yemeni sky but offer little protection.