World, Middle East

Govt repels Houthi attacks in N. Yemen: Pro-govt source

UN’s Yemen envoy, meanwhile, heads to Aden for talks with war-torn country’s embattled president

28.11.2016
Govt repels Houthi attacks in N. Yemen: Pro-govt source FILE PHOTO

By Mohamed al-Samei, Murad al-Arifi and Zakaria al-Kamaali

SANAA/TAIZ, Yemen

Pro-government forces have repelled several attacks by the Shia Houthi group and their allies in Yemen’s northern Al-Jawf province near the border with Saudi Arabia, according to a pro-government media source.

In a Monday statement, the Al-Jawf media center said Yemeni army forces had beaten off "fierce" Houthi attacks in different parts of Al-Jawf’s Masloub directorate.

According to the statement, the attacks targeted Al-Salan Camp in southern Masloub and other sites in western Masloub’s Al-Haija, Al-Oqda, Al- Ghurfa and Sadah areas.

A number of Houthi fighters were killed in the fighting, the media center added, without providing exact numbers.

The Houthis and allied forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, for their part, did not issue any immediate comments on the reported clashes.

One day earlier, at least 16 Houthi militants -- and three pro-government fighters -- were killed in clashes that erupted east of the southwestern city of Taiz, the media center reported on Sunday.

On the political front, meanwhile, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, met the ambassadors of 18 countries involved in Yemen’s peace process in Riyadh on Sunday with a view to hammering out a peace plan, according to a member of the government’s negotiating team.

The negotiator, who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media, said the 18 diplomats included ambassadors from permanent UN Security Council member states, the Gulf States, and Italy and Turkey, among others.

This week, the UN envoy plans to travel to the southern city of Aden, the Yemeni government’s provisional capital, where he plans to hold talks with Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who departed Riyadh on Saturday.

Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Houthis and pro-Salah forces overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains military gains in Yemen and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Two earlier rounds of UN-backed peace talks failed to resolve the two-year-old conflict, in which thousands of Yemenis have been killed and an estimated 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

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