10 soldiers killed as fresh Yemen fighting clouds peace efforts
At least 10 soldiers have been killed in renewed fighting in Yemen, military sources told AFP, despite diplomatic efforts to halt the long-running war in the Arab world’s poorest country.
The clashes took place in the oil-producing province of Marib, one of the main battlegrounds and the scene of sporadic fighting even during a lull in hostilities over the past year.
Iran-backed Huthi rebels attacked a mountainous area and were building up forces in the region, two military sources told AFP.
“The Huthis launched an attack on the hills above the Harib area, south of Marib, and made progress in that direction, displacing many families,” said one of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“At least 10 soldiers were killed, as well as an unknown number of attackers,” the source said. A second military officer confirmed the details of the crash.
The fighting comes a month after at least four soldiers were killed in the same area, and dents of new hope after Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are back opposing sides in what is a proxy war, agreed to restore diplomatic ties.
The exchange of hundreds of prisoners was agreed this week and Hans Grundberg, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Yemen, said “intense diplomatic efforts” are underway to reach a peace deal.
Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, was seized by Huthis in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention the following year and fighting that has left hundreds of thousands dead, through direct and indirect causes, and fueled one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises. worst in the world.
But a UN-brokered ceasefire that came into effect last April saw a sharp decline in hostilities and although the ceasefire expired in October, fighting remains largely on hold. .
On Monday, after talks in Switzerland, the Huthis and internationally recognized government agreed to exchange 887 prisoners — 181 in Huthi prisons and 706 rebels.
During a Security Council meeting last week, United Nations officials said the détente between Saudi Arabia and Iran — welcomed by Huthis and the Yemeni government — should add momentum to peace.
However, it is unlikely to solve all of Yemen’s problems. The influence of the two regional powers is only one aspect of a complex conflict in a country that is fractured regionally and politically, according to analysts.