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Yemen: at least 10 soldiers killed in renewed fighting

March 22, 2023 at 2:26 pm

Houthis group in Yemen

At least 10 Yemeni soldiers have been killed in renewed clashes in the Marib province, two military sources have told AFP. The oil-producing province is one of the main battlegrounds in the war in Yemen with its provincial capital, Marib City, the sole pro-government stronghold in the north.

The Houthi-aligned troops determined to capture the city are said to have launched an offensive on mountainous terrain in the area and have been building up their forces in the region.

“The Houthis launched an attack on hills overlooking Harib district, south of Marib, and made progress on that front, causing the displacement of dozens of families,” one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “At least 10 soldiers were killed, in addition to an unknown number of attackers.” The details of the clash were confirmed by a second military official.

The latest fighting comes a month after four soldiers were killed in the same district and follows a lull in clashes amid a UN-brokered truce which expired in October 2022 and efforts to renew it. The continued fighting also comes against the backdrop of the China-brokered normalisation agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which back opposing sides in the eight-year war.

Analyst Maged Al-Madhaji, commenting on the latest fighting, was quoted as saying: “The Houthis are interested in sending a clear political message that… the Tehran-Riyadh deal does not mean [they will just surrender]. The Houthis lean more towards the option of a military confrontation than current negotiations.”

Earlier this week, after “intense diplomatic efforts” to strike a peace deal in Geneva, the representatives of the Houthi-led government and Yemen’s internationally-recognised government agreed to release 887 prisoners in a prisoner exchange deal, including 181 held in Houthi-run prisons, in time for the start of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan tomorrow.

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