Why do the skies seem so empty for the Gulf of Aden?


The Gulf of Oman, the Gulf region’s most remote and uninhabited island, has been shrouded in darkness since the start of the Saudi-led coalition’s air war in Yemen.

It has also been hit hard by the fighting, with the Saudi military claiming to have destroyed at least 70 of the island’s more than 250 civilian buildings.

As the conflict drags on, the island has become increasingly isolated and is becoming more difficult to reach.

What’s driving the darkness?

There are no reliable satellite images of the Gulf, and most of the countries on the Gulf coast have been kept in the dark as they have struggled to cope with the blockade.

But a new report suggests that some of the most remote parts of the gulf are beginning to suffer from the impact of the coalition’s blockade. 

The report, compiled by the UK-based Gulf Observatory, found that almost all the islands in the Gulf have seen their electricity cut off. 

“The most densely populated areas are the ones that have been hit the hardest,” says Samy Al-Amin, the report’s author and professor at King Saud University. 

In some cases, they have been cut off entirely. 

A report by the UN-backed International Commission of Jurists in December found that Yemen’s government had used military force against the country’s civilian population in a “campaign of targeted denial of services and destruction of infrastructure”. 

“It is clear that the coalition, which is trying to stop the Houthis from getting into Aden, has also targeted civilian populations,” Al-Almin told Al Jazeera.

“They have targeted places like hospitals, schools, schools and mosques.”‘

They are using drones’ In addition to the attacks on the country, the coalition has also deliberately targeted Yemen’s commercial aviation industry. 

Al-Alim told Al-Jazeera that a number of the aircraft he examined had been “destroyed” by the coalition.

“We were able to find that the drones used by the Saudi and Emirati coalition are actually flying in the sky over Yemen,” he said.

“And they are using them to attack commercial aircraft.”

“It seems to me that they are taking out a lot of these planes to try and find some places that have the ability to take out a big number of planes and to make them explode and kill a lot more people.”

Al-Ameri told Al Jazeera that the destruction of civilian airliners and their crews had been particularly devastating to the city of Taiz, which has a population of just over 10,000.

Taiz was hit hard during the campaign by airstrikes.

“The air attacks hit a large part of Taitz, and the damage was massive,” he told Al Arabiya.

“Many people have been killed and many of the buildings have been completely destroyed.”

Al Jazeera’s Sarah Rainsford reports from Taiz and Abu Dhabi.