Local News

Saudi-led Coalition Pounds Yemen Rebels Ahead Of Talks

National Yemen
Written by Fakhri Al-Arashi

Saudi-led coalition warplanes heavily bombarded rebel positions across the Yemeni capital Saturday, ahead of expected UN-mediated peace talks, witnesses said.

They targeted arms depots and military camps in the rebel-held capital’s northern districts.

They also struck the rebel-held presidential residence in Sanaa’s southeast and nearby arms depots, witnesses said, adding that warplanes were still overflying the city.

There were no immediate details on any casualties.

In the eastern Marib province, where the coalition has been focusing its operations in recent days, pro-government military sources said air strikes on two separate rebel convoys killed at least 23 insurgents.

The source could not confirm the toll from independent sources, and the rebels rarely acknowledge their losses.

Military officials on the Saudi border told AFP that 20 more coalition military vehicles crossed into oil-rich Marib, following at least 40 similar vehicles a day earlier.

The reinforcements are being sent in preparation for an offensive to retake the capital, seized by the Shiite Huthi insurgents a year ago.

The United Nations estimates that Yemen’s conflict has killed more than 4,500 people since March.

On Thursday, the UN special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said the exiled government and rebels had agreed to take part in peace talks in the region next week.

However, in the absence of any announcement from the rebels, government spokesman Rajih Badi said he was unsure they would attend the talks, which he said will take place in neutral Oman without specifying a date.

The government of exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi confirmed it will join the talks but insisted that a rebel pullback from areas seized since last year — as outlined by UN Security Council Resolution 2216 — remained a precondition for negotiations.

The United States has welcomed the announcements.