Rival forces fought on in Yemen on Wednesday despite a declared halt to a Saudi-led bombing campaign, showing how tough it may be to find a political solution to a war stirring animosities between rival Gulf powers Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Shia rebel forces in Yemen later said they would welcome UN-led peace talks to end a conflict that’s killed hundreds without dislodging them from the capital.
Tuesday’s announcement by Riyadh that it would end almost a month of air strikes against the Iranian-allied Houthis drew positive responses from both the White House and Tehran, as well as fresh calls for peace talks and for urgent deliveries of humanitarian aid.
But hours later, Houthi fighters captured an army brigade base loyal to the government in Yemen’s central city of Taiz following heavy fighting. A Saudi air strike hit the brigade HQ shortly afterwards, residents said.
The brigade, along with several other army units, had declared its loyalty to exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Pro-Hadi militiamen fought clashes on Wednesday throughout southern Yemen against the Houthis and their army allies loyal to powerful ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and residents in the main port city of Aden reported heavy tank shelling and bursts of automatic gunfire in several neighbourhoods.