Houthi rebels 'in control' of Yemen capital, Saleh forces say claims false

Houthi rebels 'in control' of Yemen capital, Saleh forces say claims false
Forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh have denied reports that Houthi rebels have gained control over the capital Sanaa.
2 min read
03 December, 2017
Yemen’s former president said he was open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition

Houthi rebels claim they have gained control of most of Yemen's capital Sanaa, a claim denied by forces loyal to the country's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Iranian-backed Houthi fighters said they had taken control of three military bases, the diplomatic district and other neighbourhoods around the area, along with Dhamar, south of Sanaa, and its surrounding regions.

The past week has seen clashes erupting in Yemen's capital as talks between the feuding rebel allies failed to broker a truce.

Internal rifts have shaken the fragile alliance between the Houthis and Saleh loyalists, who joined ranks in 2014 to seize Sanaa.

Yemen's former president said on Saturday he was open to talks with the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels

Saleh also called for a joint ceasefire between his allies and Houthi rebels, and the Saudi-led coalition, which has been at war with the impoverished country since March 2015.

The Saudi-led coalition praised Saleh for "taking the lead" in the conflict. In a statement on Saturday, the coalition said that it would "redeem Yemen from the evils of Iranian terrorist and sectarian militias, return it to the Pan-Arab pure and natural fold".

Saleh loyalists and Houthi rebels drove President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi's internationally-recognised government out of the capital in 2014.

Yemen has since been rocked by rebel infighting.

The wider Yemen conflict pits the Houthi-Saleh alliance against the Saudi-backed government of Hadi.

The war has claimed more than 10,000 lives since Saudi Arabia and its allies joined fight in 2015, triggering what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Houthi claim come as tensions soar between the insurgents and the Saudi-led coalition, which imposed a crippling blockade on Yemen in response to a Houthi missile that was intercepted near Riyadh airport on 4 November.