Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Houthis Target, Seek Changing Identity of Sanaa Old City

Houthis Target, Seek Changing Identity of Sanaa Old City

Friday, 3 December, 2021 - 10:30
A general view of an old neighborhood in Sanaa (Reuters)

Only a few weeks have passed since Houthis expropriated dozens of historic houses in the Old City of Sanaa and the Iran-backed group is back at targeting the UNESCO-classified World Heritage Site with sectarian projects.

Sources working in the Culture Ministry, which is under Houthi control in Sanaa, revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Houthi coupists had made extensive changes to landmarks in the Old City of Sanaa.

Houthi changes, according to sources, included writing and printing dozens of slogans containing the phrases of the militia’s founder and current leader and placing them on the city’s gates, corridors, and most of the walls of its homes.

These changes took place based on the outcomes of a meeting held around ten days ago.

The meeting was headed by Abdallah al-Kabsi, the Houthi culture minister, and attended by Hammoud Abbad, the Houthi secretary for Sanaa.

According to sources, the meeting discussed Houthis implementing aesthetic projects in the Old City of Sanaa.

The meeting produced a mechanism that stipulates making wide changes to the entrances and exits of Bab al-Yaman. It also involved erecting sculptures near the historical Bab Shu’ub and others in several city squares and houses.

The sculptures are linked to the Houthi thought and project that is alien to Yemeni society.

In the meantime, activists, intellectuals, and workers in the field of heritage warned against the group’s current efforts to bulldoze what remained of the landmarks and symbolism in the Old City.

They raised the alarm on Houthis replacing Yemen’s natural heritage in the Old City with another medium imported from Iranian seminaries.

Houthi militias have continued to wage their overt war against Yemen’s historical and civilized landmarks, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat, pointing out to the group having turned the Old City of Sanaa into a closed security area.

Houthis have also confiscated many of the Old City’s homes and given them to its leaders and some of its supervisors.

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