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Yemen:Truce with Houthi Rebels Collapses | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- The truce between the Shiite Houthi rebels and the Yemeni authorities collapsed yesterday less than 24 hours after it had been signed, with clashes erupting between the two parties on more than one front. The Houthi rebels have accused the government of escalation in an attempt to incite a new war in the Saada province.

Several hours after Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh issued a warning to the Houthi rebels accusing them of continuing to commit violations, the Yemeni authorities stepped up their bombardment of many regions including; Dayhan, Kahlan, Al-Saifi, Souk Al Anad, Al-Khafji, and many others regions in Al-Sahar. Attacks also took place against the Al-Mujaz region. There is no information with regards to the fighting in the region along the border with Saudi Arabia, although Yemeni forces have been attempting to wrestle control of this region away from the Houthi rebels.

Eye witnesses also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the heaviest bombardment targeted the city of Dayhan, the provincial capital of Saada, and that this has resulted in high human and material losses in the region. However these reports are unsubstantiated due to the intensity of the shelling.

Abdul Malik Al Houthi, the field commander of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, condemned the military operations undertaken by the Yemeni armed forces, describing them as “criminal” operations. He also said that the Yemeni authorities were “undermining the efforts of conciliation” and accused them of “targeting the innocent, children, and women, in their homes.” In the statement issued by his political office, Al Houthi also said that the bombardment had resulted in civilian injuries, including that of a seventeen year old girl who was in critical condition, as well as injuring a 4 year old child.

Al Houthi also accused the Yemeni authorities of escalations in order “to launch a new war against the people of Saada” adding that they are “more committed to peace and stability than all the [other] parties” and that the people of Saada are the first to be affected by what is happening. He also said that the people of Saada are “the first to respond to anything that aims at reconciliation rather than sabotage…that builds rather than destroys.”

The Houthi rebels and the Yemeni authorities had concluded a short-term ceasefire agreement less than 24 hours before the fighting broke out. One of the most important details of this ceasefire deal that was revealed by Asharq Al-Awsat is the institution of peace dialogue that will begin following the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

However before the ink could dry on this agreement both sides accused the other of violating the truce. The Houthi rebels accused some military officers of failing to implement the truce, while Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh accused the Houthi rebels of failing to comply with the ceasefire and continuing to violate its terms, warning them of the consequences of this.

Asharq Al-Awsat has also learnt that the mediation committee in the Saada province which is headed by Sheikh Faris Manna, one of the most prominent figures in the Saada region, has held a number of meetings since fighting broke out in an attempt to contain the situation and revert to the previously agreed ceasefire.