Yemen: 48-hour ceasefire ends without extension

Fifteen rebels and nine loyalist troops were killed in clashes overnight in and around Taez

By: AFP | Sanaa | Published:November 21, 2016 5:29 pm
yemen, yemen conflict, yemen ceasefire, yemen truce, yemen rebels, yemen violence, US involvement yemen, middle east violence A pro-government fighter walks at the site of recent battles between Houthi fighters and pro-government fighters, on the second day of a 48-hour ceasefire in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen on November 20. (Reuters)

A 48-hour ceasefire ended on Monday in Yemen after failing to stem violence across the country, with both sides blaming each other for deadly ‘violations’ of the US-backed truce. The ceasefire, aimed at ending the chaos and bloodshed nthat has gripped Yemen since March 2015, came into effect on Saturday following the intervention of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

But despite a lull in air strikes on the rebel-held capital, both parties traded accusations over hundreds of violations. The Saudi-led coalition said the truce ended at midday (0900 GMT) Monday, and accused Iran-backed insurgents of repeatedly breaking it.

“There is no respect (for the truce), only violations,” coalition spokesman Major General Ahmed Assiri told AFP.

“There have been more people killed in (the southwestern city of) Taez and more attacks with surface-to-surface missiles, so automatically the conditions are not there” for prolonging the ceasefire deal, he said.

“At the military level, for the moment, we have no orders to extend the ceasefire. It’s over.”

The coalition had said the truce could be renewed if the rebels abided by the deal and allowed aid deliveries to besieged cities. But both sides have accused each other of incessantly breaking the conditions of the deal, and violence flared as its expiration loomed.

Fifteen rebels and nine loyalist troops were killed in clashes overnight in and around Taez, military and medical sources said.

Four civilians were also killed and 11 others wounded in rebel bombing of loyalist-held neighbourhoods, the sources said. Early Monday, forces loyal to Hadi attacked Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies on the western outskirts of Taez, according to military officials.

The offensive targeted an air defence base, the officials said, while witnesses reported loud explosions. Four of the Huthi casualties were killed in an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition.

Coalition warplanes hit rebel positions in Nahm, north of rebel-held capital Sanaa, and in the Huthi’s heartland in Saada province, witnesses said. And warplanes also conducted numerous sorties over Sanaa early on Monday.