At least 55 dead in new Yemen violence

At least 55 dead in new Yemen violence
Fighting between Yemeni government forces and rebels left at least 55 dead as the battle to control Taiz escalates.
2 min read
20 March, 2016
Government forces made gains in besieged Taiz last week [Getty]
At least 55 people have been killed in two days of intense fighting in Yemen, between forces loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Clashes raged on the outskirts of Yemen's third largest city, Taiz, where 200,000 residents livedunder complete rebel siege for several months before government forces broke through earlier this month.

"At least 26 people - including 14 civilians - have been killed in 24 hours" in rebel shelling of residential neighbourhoods and loyalist positions, a local official told AFP.

This comes as UN special envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, visited the rebel-held capital Sanaa for meetings with the their rebel leadership.

This is part of peace talks between Houthis and the internationally-recognised government temporatily-based in the southern city of Aden.

Meanwhile, six pro-government fighters and seven rebels were killed in clashes south of the country as loyalists advanced in the oil-rich Shabwa province.

Houthis captured Taiz - Yemen's third-largest city, located between the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, and the southern port city of Aden - several months ago.

They cut off all roads and blocking humanitarian access for the estimated 200,000 residents.

More than 6,100 people have died - half of them civilians -since the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on Yemen in March 2015, according to the United Nations.

Agencies contributed to this story.