Little hope of progress in ending Yemen's nightmare four years since the war which has brought country to its knees

Credit: AP
  • ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery has reported from Yemen a number of times since war began in the country in March 2015.

As Yemen's war marked its fourth anniversary this week, an air strike killed seven people - four of them children - at a hospital 60 miles from the city of Saada.

The attack by the Saudi-led coalition struck a petrol station near the entrance to the rural hospital.

The victims are the latest civilians to lose their lives in war which has brought Yemen to its knees.

ITV News has reported from Yemen on a number of occasions during the war and seen firsthand the terrible price paid by so many.

Ten million people - a third of the country's population - cannot find enough to eat. More than two million children are malnourished.

80% of the population rely on humanitarian support.

  • Watch Neil's report from March 2016: Starving baby shows horrific effects of war in Yemen

Fighting began in 2014 when Houthi rebels took advantage of the new president's weakness and seized control of northern Saada province.

The Houthis went on to take the capital Sanaa and President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi fled into exile.

The conflict escalated dramatically in March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states - backed by the US, UK, and France - began air strikes against the Houthis, with the aim of restoring Hadi's government.

The Saudi-led coalition feared the Houthis would give their rival regional power Iran a foothold in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia says Iran is backing the Houthis with weapons and logistical support - a charge Iran denies.

So Yemen finds itself at the mercy of the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Its own divisions and conflicts have spiralled into a larger battle for greater influence in the region.

UN efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the war continue, with the UK playing an important role.

In February, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt became the first western foreign minister to visit Yemen since the war started in 2015.

He said the peace process was in the “last chance saloon” and could collapse within weeks unless both sides shift position.

But UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the war remain under the spotlight.

  • Watch Neil's report from October 2016: ITV News sees evidence British-made bombs used in Yemen

Since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, the UK government is believed to have licensed £4.7bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia.

The British government maintains it has a robust arms export policy.

But in a joint letter, UK opposition parties said the figure is “all the more shocking” considering that it overshadows the amount raised by the UN’s Yemen appeal.

The UK recently announced that it was stepping up its efforts to help people in Yemen, bringing the total that the UK has committed since the start of the four-year conflict to £770m.

Having seen firsthand the scale of suffering in Yemen on a number of visits over the past few years, it is easy to see why the UN calls it the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

So many children and babies dying from severe acute malnutrition, civilians killed in airstrikes and ground fighting.

  • Watch Neil's report from April 2017: The fragile sisters affected by Yemen's famine

All sides in this conflict are responsible for the terrible human suffering in what was already the poorest nation in the Arab world.

Four years on, there is little hope of progress in ending Yemen's nightmare.