Civilians trapped in battle for Yemen's Taiz

Dozens of deaths reported in fighting in country's third largest city between rebels and forces loyal to the government.


    Dozens of civilians in Yemen have been killed in fighting in the besieged city of Taiz between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the government.

    And in the Arabian Peninsula country's east, US drone strikes have reportedly left 12 people dead, including one of al-Qaeda's most senior commanders.

    Taiz, Yemen's third largest city, has been besieged by Houthi fighters for months. Hospitals are fast running out of medical supplies. The relentless fighting has killed hundreds of civilians and created a dire humanitarian situation.

    As in many other parts of Yemen, basic services have been suspended in Taiz.

    People fear outbreaks of disease due to the unsanitary conditions and fumes from explosives being used by all sides.

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    Pro-government fighters were not able to close in from Taiz  after they faced stiff resistance there.

    They are trying to push towards the capital Sanaa from Jawf, Marib and Nehem. Yemen's army and pro-government fighters say they have taken control of an important crossing linking Sanaa to Marib and Jawf.

    Fighters say taking over Nehem mountains will cut off supplies to Houthi fighters and Republican guard forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president.

    But in the fight to take over a military camp and a weapons depot, more than 60 soldiers and fighters have been killed on both sides. Houthi fighters have the support of some tribes in Sanaa province and that has slowed the Yemeni military's progress in taking back territory there.


    The lack of security is helping armed groups like al-Qaeda - which has claimed control of several areas in recent weeks - in the south. It is being targeted by US drone strikes and, in one such strike on Thursday, a local commander was reportedly killed.

    Jalal Mohsen Saeed Baleedi al-Marqashi, also known as Hamza al-Zinjibari, was the field commander of many provinces in Yemen for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. His death, if confirmed, is seen as a blow for al-Qaeda.

    Yemen is being torn apart by conflict for the last two years. For millions of Yemenis struggling to survive, military gains by any side do not mean much.


    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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