Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT) May 16, 2018
Taiz, Yemen (CNN)It is a war you rarely see, but one that defines the US’ relationship with Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.
Rare images from inside Yemen’s city of Taiz show the devastation wrought by months of fighting between Houthi forces backed by Iran and Yemeni government forces, bolstered by Saudi Arabia and its US-equipped air power. They also expose the startling levels of hunger and disease in a conflict that so often goes unseen, even though a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes.
The fight in Taiz has led to a slow victory for the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces, but at a great cost to the city and its inhabitants.
Startling drone footage by Brazilian photographer Gabriel Chaim shows how barely a wall has escaped the force of Saudi air power, and at times Houthi shelling too.
Mayhoub, a US aid worker from Washington, DC, set up a charity in Taiz after finding himself trapped in the city by the war when visiting his sick mother. He happened to be in hospital when he saw an eight-year-old girl come in with horrific injuries from shelling.
“A little girl came into the hospital with her heart out,” Mayhoub told CNN, without giving his full name as aid workers are often targeted in Taiz. “And you could see her heart pumping. It’s inhumane. Who sends shells into the most heavily crowded city in Yemen?”
Mayhoub led Chaim, the photographer, around the city, explaining where the Houthis retained positions from where they could shell Taiz. The conflict in the city has been further complicated as the Houthis’ enemies have begun fighting among themselves, making a reprieve in the violence even less likely.
The impact on the youngest Yemenis is also acute, as images from Camp al Mahu — a haven near Lahj — devastatingly show. Here, tiny nine-year-old Mailiki Seif weighs just 2 kilograms, reduced to twigs of bone. Her mother, Mariam, says this is actually an improvement.