Straight from the field:
Dying camel in road. Sprawling tent city. Shops closed. There actually was a war here. Victory march likely.
Kelly McEvers is on a Saudi military C130 right now, headed for the country’s southern border with Yemen, where fighting has raged off and on for several months. En route to a base near the Saudi city of Jizan, she’s traveling with an undisclosed number of other journalists, who have all been invited by Saudi officials to get an on-the-ground update on the military situation. This is in the wake, yesterday, of a reported peace deal on offer from Houthi rebel leader Abdul Malik. More than 100 Saudi soldiers have reportedly died in fighting so far.
She’ll be text messaging me all day, and I’ll be posting live updates here, and on her Twitter feed @kellymcevers.
UPDATES, from newest to oldest:
– Junket over. At least we can finally write about this war.
– Correction: Oasis of cars belongs to soldiers, not refugees
– Khaled bin Sultan: #Saudi will only agree to cease fire if Houthis stop sending snipers over the border and return 6 Saudi prisoners
– Prince to review troops, spread good news.
– ‘They did not withdraw. We destroyed them.’ Then why are we hearing shells and gunfire?
– Journo in heels just fainted. It’s hot up here. And still not clear if the war is over.
– Gunner nests dug in side of mountain. Flag at summit suggests happy speech imminent.
– Jackknifing up mountain on newly cut road in heart of combat zone.
– Dying camel in road. Sprawling tent city. Oasis of cars that once belonged to refugees. Shops closed. There actually was a war here. Victory march likely.
– Now in convoy of sand-covered Nissans on way to #Saudi southern command HQ
– Landed in Jizan, herded into carpeted splendor. War zone? Maybe.
– Today should yield #Saudi response to #Houthi truce offer
– On a fancy C130. Apparently “five star” means “tricked out in the 80s.” Heading to #Saudi-#Yemen border.
UDPATE: And here‘s the story she filed for NPR.