Heavy fighting in Houthi-besieged Taiz kills 48

Heavy fighting in Houthi-besieged Taiz kills 48
Dozens were killed in the besieged city of Taiz as fighting intensified between the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and local resistance forces
2 min read
26 January, 2018
The Houthis have been besieging Taiz for nearly three years [Getty]

Yemeni security officials and witnesses say fighting between Iran backed rebel forces and others loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised government in the besieged city of Taiz  has killed at least 48 people on both sides.

They said Friday that fighting intensified earlier this week when local forces backed by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi attempted regain full control over the city and expel rebel forces surrounding it.

They also said that Saudi-led coalition forces backing Hadi carried out several airstrikes on Houthi-controlled bases. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief the media, while the witnesses did so for fear of reprisals.

Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, with a population of 2.8 million people has been besieged by the Houthi rebels since April 2015.

Then UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick said last year that health workers in Taiz are complaining that “lives are being lost to preventable diseases. Hospitals and feeding centres struggle to cope due to problems with salary payments, insufficient essential supplies, and lack of medicines. Increasing malnutrition rates, particularly in children, are worsening the already difficult humanitarian situation".

Jamie McGoldrick stepped down just days after UN envoy for the war-torn country Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed also said he was stepping down as the quagmire only deepens.

More than 9,200 people have been killed and millions displaced since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemeni government's war against rebels in 2015.

Another nearly 2,200 Yemenis have died of cholera amid deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, the World Health Organisation says.

The United Nations last week made a record appeal for nearly $3 billion to combat imminent famine as well as cholera and diphtheria outbreaks in 2018.

Multiple rounds of UN-brokered peace talks between the Iran-backed Huthi rebels and the Saudi-supported government have failed to stem the fighting.