At least 50 dead in fighting in Yemen

According to military sources, at least 50 rebels and loyalist forces have been killed in fighting over the past two days in Yemen’s Marib province. The province is the last government stronghold in northern Yemen, and Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been trying to capture it for months.

400 fighters dead in September

“43 Houthi fighters have been killed in the past 48 hours, most in Coalition-led strikes” in western Marib province, a loyalist military source said. Other sources say at least seven loyalist fighters perished in the fighting. The Houthis, who have stepped up their efforts to capture Marib since February, rarely report casualties in the fighting. About 400 fighters from both sides perished in September.

Control of this oil-rich region, located about 120 kilometers from the capital Sana’a, a stronghold of the Houthis, would strengthen their negotiating position in the peace talks. The conflict in Yemen, a poor country in the Arabian Peninsula, erupted in 2014 after an offensive by the Houthis in the north of the country.

Stalled negotiations

The country has since become the scene of the worst humanitarian disaster in the world according to the UN, with tens of thousands of deaths according to NGOs and a population on the brink of famine. As the UN and Washington push for an end to the war, the Houthis demanded the reopening of Sana’a airport, closed under Saudi blockade since 2016, before any ceasefire or negotiations.

The efforts of the United Nations in recent years to end the fighting have been unsuccessful. Last June, the former envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, drew up a report of failure after a three-year mission. His successor, Swedish diplomat Hans Grundberg, recently visited Oman, a country which is playing a mediating role in the inter-Yemeni conflict. There he met with Omani and Houthi officials, including rebel chief negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam.

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“Lasting peace can be achieved only through a peacefully negotiated settlement,” Hans Grundberg said, according to a statement. It is imperative that all efforts be made to relaunch a political process that can generate lasting solutions that meet the expectations of Yemeni women and men. “

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