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The New Arab Staff

Clashes erupt between allied army units in Yemen's Taiz

Taiz is split between government and Houthi rule [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 July, 2020

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Clashes were reported between different units belonging to Yemen's government forces, including UAE-backed fighters.
Clashes between units within Yemen's Saudi-backed army, including fighters backed by the UAE erupted in Taiz on Saturday, a government source told Arabi21, as concerns were raised over the Emiratis' intentions in the third largest city.

"Violent clashes took place between the military police forces and an armed group belonging to the Abu Al-Abbas militia, which is backed by the UAE, south of Taiz," the source said.

The gunmen attacked a government headquarters which resulted in a number of injuries to the fighters from the Abu Al-Abbas, the source added.

A military commander survived an assassination attempt amid the clashes, local reports confirmed.

Taiz, Yemen's third largest city, is situated between the north and south of the country and is split between government and rebel control.

The infighting between the Saudi-led coalition allies across Yemen has emerged as a second front in a country already split by a five-year war between Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa and the north, and the government, which was forced south to the interim capital of Aden.

Escalating tensions came to a boil last month when pro-STC forces seized all key government and military locations on Socotra island, declared self-administrative authority, and appointed its own acting governor.

The move, though carried out by a small number of fighters with little bloodshed, proved to be a significant turning point in the more than five-year conflict, prompting severe criticism of the Saudi-led coalition by government officials who accused it of "betrayal".

The STC, backed by the UAE, first declared self-rule on 26 April, accusing the government of failing to carry out its duties, before moving on to Socotra. The group now reportedly has eyes on Yemen’s third largest Taiz city.

The latest developments came as Yemen’s ambassador to Jordan Ali Al-Amrani warned the coalition against supporting secession in the country.

“To whom it may concern from our close brothers, the secessionist protect will remain rejected and condemned in absolute terms by the majority of Yemenis,” Al-Amrani said in a tweet.

“Only the enemies of the Arabs and Yemen will benefit from support of secession, whether overt or in secret,” he added, noting “it will be used for the benefit of the enemies you are fighting now.”

Houthi attakcs in Hodeida

Meanwhile, violent clashes were also witnessed Yemen’s Hodeida on Saturday after rebels launched an attack in the coastal city, authorities confirmed.

“The Houthi militia launched a violent attack with various heavy and medium weapons on the sites of the first brigade of Amalekah, 16km eat of Hodeida,” army spokesman, Mamoun al-Mujahmi said, according to Arabi21.

The attack was followed by clashes between Yemen’s armed forces and the rebels that forced the Houthis to retreat, the spokesman said, noting a number of casualties were reported among the rebel ranks.

The Houthis have yet to confirm the incident in Hodeida.

Hodeida city is a lifeline for Yemen with 90 percent of all supplies coming through the port. Any disruption would inflict further hardship on a country which is again on the brink of famine after long years of conflict.

Yemen’s warring factions have traded accusations over violating the 2018 Stockholm Agreement - a fragile ceasefire in the west coast, namely Hodeida, that was supervised by the UN.

Yemen's war between Houthi rebels and pro-government troops escalated in March 2015, when a Saudi-led military coalition intervened against the rebels who control large parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

More than 100,000 have been killed, an estimated four million displaced and 80 percent of the country's 29 million people are dependent on aid for survival.

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