#Yemen : 19 killed in airstrikes and clashes,New #UAE troops arrive in Aden
Aden,Yemen ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – At least 19 people have been killed in Saudi-led coalition air strikes and clashes between pro-government forces and rebels in Yemen’s south, military sources said on Saturday.
The air strikes took place late Friday and targeted two rebel vehicles on a road linking the central province of Ibb province to Daleh province further south, the sources said.
Forces loyal to Gulf-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi recaptured Daleh and four other southern provinces in July.
Loyalist forces also clashed with Iran-backed Huthi rebels and their allies on the outskirts of Daleh’s second-largest city Damt on Friday, the sources said.
Eight pro-government fighters and 11 rebels were killed in the clashes and air strikes, they added.
Fareed Al Homaid, a journalist based in Taez, told The National that the shelling hit the areas of Al Gahmaliah, Al Roudha, Hawdh Al Ashraf and Osaiferah, with most of the deaths occurring in Osaiferah. The rebels launched the missiles from the Al Hawban area – which is under their control – on the northern edge of the city, Mr Al Homaid said.
The Houthis have besieged those areas of the provincial capital not under their control, preventing food and water supplies from getting in.
South-west of Taez city, Yemeni resistance fighters arrested nine Houthis in the Al Dhabab area, after the rebels were pushed out of nearby hills.
Aref Al Samei, a member of the Popular Resistance fighting on the Al Dhabab front, said those arrested were Houthis from Taez province, who had been abandoned by rebels from Sadaa and other provinces.
“When our fighters advanced towards the areas of the Houthis, supported by [coalition] air strikes, then the Houthis [from other provinces] fled the area and left behind those from Taez who we arrested,” Mr Al Samei said.
The arrested Houthis said they were willing to cooperate with the resistance if their photos were not made public, a leading figure in the resistance told The National.
“The detainees appear to be regretful and are willing to give us more details about the Houthis in Taez,” he said. “They said that they will fight with the resistance against the Houthis, but we will not trust them.”
However, he said the resistance would not make public the identity of the detainees as they wanted to avoid riots in their hometowns.
The source added that it was easier to fight Houthis who come from other provinces, as they do not know the terrain and entry routes into Taez.
“During the next period we will concentrate on the Houthis from Taez more than the invaders that come from other provinces, as these are the main challenge,” he said.
In Saudi Arabia, the civil defence announced late on Friday the death of a Saudi woman and her three-month-old baby in the border city of Najran when a missile fired from Yemen crashed into their home, the official SPA news agency said.
The Saudi-led coalition, in which the United Arab Emirates has played a key role, has been battling rebel forces who since last year have controlled the capital Sanaa, as well as much of northern and central Yemen.
The United Nations says around 5,000 people have been killed and 25,000 wounded, many of them civilians, in Yemen’s conflict since it escalated in March.
In Saudi Arabia, more than 70 people have been killed from border shelling and skirmishes since the coalition campaign began. Soldiers have accounted for most of the border casualties.
New UAE troops arrive in Yemen to replace returning soldiers
A second deployment of UAE soldiers have assumed their duties in Yemen as part of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces, with the first batch expected to arrive home in the coming days.
The General Command of the UAE’s Armed Forces said the changeover had been successfully accomplished, state news agency Wam reported on Thursday.
The UAE will hold an official reception for the returning soldiers, the General Command added.
The Emirates joined the coalition in March after Houthi rebels advanced on the southern city of Aden where the president, Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, had fled. The coalition’s operation to restore Mr Hadi’s internationally recognised was initially restricted to air strikes but now involves troops on the ground.
Emirati forces have worked with Yemeni loyalist fighters to liberate four southern province from Houthi control, including Aden, Abyan, Lahj and Dalea.
But they have frequently come under attack.
Fifty-two Emirati soldiers were killed on September 4 when a Houthi missile hit an arms depot at the coalition’s Safer camp in Marib province, east of the capital Sanaa. Fifteen other coalition fighters were killed in the attack, while several other Emiratis later died of their injuries.
And on October 6, 15 coalition members, including four Emiratis, were killed in car-bomb attacks claimed by ISIL that struck a hotel in Aden housing members of Yemen’s government and buildings used by the coalition.
Saudi Arabia and other members of the coalition accuse Iran of backing the Houthis, a charge Tehran denies. However, a sanctions announcement by the US treasury on Thursday linked an agent of Hizbollah, the Iran-backed militant movement in Lebanon, with the rebels in Yemen.
The treasury said Lebanese passport holder Adel Mohamad Cherri was a “procurement agent who has purchased dual-use technology and equipment from suppliers in Asia on behalf of Hizbollah” and also “facilitated Hizbollah’s efforts to procure a variety of electronics from China for transport to Yemen for use in improvised explosive devices by the Houthis”.
Late on Wednesday, the Saudi and Yemeni ambassadors to the United Nations said they were optimistic that peace talks between the Yemeni government and the rebels, who are allied to renegade units of the military still loyal to former president Al Abdullah Saleh, will take place in mid-November.
Saudi ambassador Abdallah Al Mouallimi and Yemen’s Khalid Alyemany said the talks will focus on implementing a UN Security Council resolution approved in April that requires the rebels to withdraw from all areas they have seized and lay down arms captured in months of fighting.
Mr Alyemany said the agenda for the talks – likely to be held in Geneva – should be completed by the end of this week.
However, Mr Al Mouallimi said the Yemeni delegation expressed concern at the upcoming peace talks because they do not want to see the rebels “reap any fruits from their illegal takeover of state institutions”.
He said that during preparations, the Houthis attempted “to throw in other conditions and other elements” that are not part of the UN resolution. But Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, have made clear that talks will focus only on implementing that resolution, he added.