As Yemen’s huge offensive against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) rages on, foreign reporters have been deported and blocked from entering the country, and the only two foreign correspondents working on journalist visas left earlier this month. Fighting is taking place across many parts of Yemen since the conflict began last month.
Then there are the frequent US drone strikes.
So the usually quiet mornings in the capital of Sana’a have now disappeared. This ancient city rises early for prayer, and usually yawns itself awake for work hours later. The standard sounds — neighborly chatter, muttered prayer, the gush of water from public spouts, all heard from Sana’a’s traditional gingerbread houses — are now accompanied by the scream of fighter jets flying overhead.
The sounds of the night have also changed. While evening traffic noise in spring and summer is often accompanied by fireworks and occasional gunfire — signaling the many weddings at this time of year — the shooting now lasts through the night, heard from battles between Yemen’s armed forces and AQAP.