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Yemen rebels reject US call to halt Marib assault

October 17, 2021 at 3:02 pm

A smoke plume rises in Marib in central Yemen, on November 22, 2020 [AFP via Getty Images]

Houthi rebels in Yemen on Sunday rejected a US call for allowing safe passage for civilians and halting its military offensive in the central Marib province, Anadolu reports.

In a tweet, rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam argued that the Houthis were fighting al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS militants in al-Abdiyah district in Marib.

He said the US call “was a proof on the link between the US and al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS militants, who were defeated in al-Abdiyah”.

“The shouts of the Americans are getting louder as we take on the positions of al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS in Marib,” Abdul-Salam said.

On Saturday, the US State Department condemned the Houthi escalation in Marib and accused the rebels of “obstructing the movement of people and humanitarian aid.”

Yemen: Saudi-led coalition says over 130 Houthi fighters killed near Marib 

“We call on the Houthis to stop their offensive on Marib, and listen to the urgent calls from across Yemen and the international community to bring this conflict to an end and support a UN-led inclusive peace process,” the State Department said in a statement.

On Sunday, a Yemeni military source said Houthi rebels completed their control of al-Abdiyah district following a fierce fighting with government forces and allied tribesmen.

On Tuesday, the Yemeni government appealed for UN intervention over the situation in Marib amid Houthi attacks, accusing the rebel group of besieging 35,000 civilians in al-Abdiyah and depriving them of food and vital supplies.

In recent months, Houthi rebels have stepped up attacks to take control of the oil-rich Marib province, one of the most important strongholds of the legitimate government and home to the headquarters of Yemen’s Defense Ministry.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation and caused one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with 233,000 people killed, nearly 80% or about 30 million needing humanitarian assistance and protection, and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.