SANAA, Yemen: Fierce fighting and airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition pounded northern Yemen on Saturday, as the two main parties in the country’s conflict continued to violate a cease-fire agreement and undermine already tenuous peace talks in Switzerland.

The clashes in Hajjah Province near the Saudi border between rebel-allied units and pro-government Yemeni forces have killed more than 75 over the past three days, Yemeni security officials and witnesses said. The dead included more than 40 rebels and 35 government troops, with 50 wounded on the rebel side and dozens wounded on the government side.

Most were killed by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition that dominates the skies in Yemen, said the witnesses and security officials, who remain neutral in the conflict that has splintered Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country. Dozens of tanks and armored vehicles were destroyed.

The government troops advanced across the border from Saudi territory after training there for months, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Yemen’s fighting pits the internationally recognized government backed by a Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition against the rebels, known as Houthis, who are allied with a former president and backed by Iran.

 
According to U.N. figures, at least 5,884 people have died in the Yemen war since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes targeting the rebels.

Fighting in Yemen has continued despite a week-long cease-fire agreement that went into effect Tuesday. On Friday, the Yemeni rebel delegation suspended meetings with the internationally recognized government in protest over its cease-fire violations.

Courtesy Washington Post