Clashes leave 12 dead in Yemen ahead of ceasefire
At least 12 fighters died in clashes between government loyalists and Houthi rebels in Yemen, two days ahead of a UN-announced ceasefire.
The fighting broke out in Sarwah, which the loyalists have been trying for months to recapture from the rebels.
According to a preliminary toll, seven loyalists and five rebels had died.
Saudi Arabia-led coalition warplanes circled overhead but did not drop any bombs or fire missiles.
The UN ceasefire is due to come into effect at midnight on Sunday, in what is hoped will be the cornerstone of a peace deal at talks due to start on April 18 in Kuwait.
A first round of talks was held in Switzerland in December with little results.
But there is some optimism for this round after mediation efforts proved to be effective in reducing violence along the border with Saudi Arabia.
Since the airstrikes by a Saudi-Arabian led coalition against the rebels in March 2015, Yemen has spiralled into full-blown conflict with human rights abuses and war crimes being committed throughout the country.
The UN says Yemen’s conflict has cost the lives of about 6,300 people, nearly half of them civilians, while Amnesty International estimates that at least 83 percent of Yemenis today rely on some form of humanitarian assistance in order to survive.