The UN Security Council (UNSC) has adopted a resolution that imposes an arms embargo against the Houthi rebels amid rapid military escalation by the group in several parts of Yemen.

Passed with 14 votes, with Russia abstaining, the resolution called on all member states to immediately prevent direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to, or for the benefit of Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the son of Yemen’s former President, whom it blacklisted along with top Houthi leader, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, Abdullah Yahya Al Hakim, Abd Al-Khaliq Al-Huthi.

The resolution urged Houthis to immediately and unconditionally end violence, withdraw forces from areas they have captured, hand over all arms, refrain from provocation against neighbouring states, release the country’s defence minister, general Mahmoud al-Subaihi, and also end the recruitment of children.

The measure also directed all Yemeni parties, particularly the Houthis, to abide by the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and its implementation mechanism, as well as relevant security council resolutions, and to resume and accelerate inclusive UN-brokered talks involved in the political transition.

The Houthi’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee condemned the resolution, and noted that the move supported ‘aggression.’

UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has urged all parties to the conflict in Yemen to ensure prompt investigation of any attacks resulting in civilian casualties and to ensure the respect of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Al Hussein said: "Hospitals and ambulances must be safe from attacks and allowed to function at all times.

"The resolution urged Houthis to immediately and unconditionally end violence, withdraw forces from areas they have captured, and hand over all arms."

"Intentional attacks on hospitals or ambulances being exclusively used for medical purposes would amount to war crimes."

On 26 March, a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes in Yemen with an aim to weaken Houthis, who currently control large swathes of the country including its capital Sana’a, and also dissolved the parliament earlier this year.

According to UN, at least 364 civilians, including 84 children and 25 women, have been killed in addition to hundreds of fighters, while more than 681 civilians have been injured since the start of airstrikes.

Dozens of public buildings, including hospitals, schools, airports and mosques are claimed to have been destroyed in airstrikes, through shelling and other attacks.

In addition, street fighting intensified in densely populated areas over the past week, particularly in Aden between armed groups affiliated with the President of Yemen Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and those supporting the Houthis.

Image: Yemenis flee the capital city of Sana’a with their families and few possessions. Photo: courtesy of Almigdad Mojalli/IRIN.