Fighting between Yemeni government forces and Shiite rebels killed 41 people on several fronts today, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged the rival factions in Kuwait to accept a peace plan.
UN sponsored talks between the Iran-backed Huthi rebels and the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi have failed to achieve a breakthrough since starting in the Gulf emirate on April 21.
The Huthis and allied forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have seized control of large parts of the impoverished country since 2014 and still control swathes of territory including the capital Sanaa.
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UN special envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed has repeatedly urged both sides to make concessions to end the conflict, which has cost more than 6,400 lives since March 2015 and displaced 2.8 million people.
But the clashes raged today, with the rebels pressing ahead with attempts to advance towards the strategic Al-Anad airbase, in the southern province of Lahj, a military official said.
The rebels and their allies captured the area of Qubaita, on the frontier between Lahj and Taez province.
Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition that backs Hadi’s government killed 11 rebels in Qubaita and Kirsh, the official said.
Also along the frontier between Lahj and Taez, five rebels and three government soldiers died in clashes triggered by a rebel attempt to advance in the Waziya area, said a loyalist militia source.
Six other soldiers were killed in clashes in the flashpoint city of Taez, where rebels attacked an army base, a military official said.
Meanwhile, nine rebels and seven soldiers were killed in the past 24 hours in clashes in northern Yemen, after rebels attacked loyalists in Nahm, northeast of the Sanaa, a military official said.
Clashes have continued despite a UN-brokered ceasefire that entered into effect on April 11 and paved the way for the peace talks in Kuwait.
In the Gulf emirate today, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the warring parties to accept a roadmap for peace and quickly reach a comprehensive settlement to the 15-month-old conflict.
The peace roadmap proposed by Ould Cheikh Ahmed calls for the formation of a unity government and the withdrawal and disarmament of the rebels.