JEDDAH: Yemen’s army claimed on Saturday that four of its soldiers were killed and 25 more wounded in Houthi attacks, accusing the Iran-backed militia of breaching a United Nations-brokered truce hundreds of times in the past week.
The international community is pressing the Houthis to open roads in Taiz and turn the truce into a lasting peace settlement to end the war.
The army’s media center said in a statement that the Houthis committed 351 violations last week alone by shelling and mounting ground attacks on government troops, launching explosive-rigged drones, gunning down army troops, mobilizing new forces and creating new military posts in Taiz, Hajjah, Marib, Hodeidah, Dhale and Abyan.
Under the truce that came into effect on April 2 and has been renewed twice since, both sides agreed to stop fighting, to facilitate the departure of commercial flights from Sanaa, to ease restrictions on the movement of fuel ships through Hodeidah port, and to open roads in Taiz and other provinces.
Yemen’s government and military officials have warned that the continuation of deadly strikes by the Houthis and the failure to lift their seven-year siege on Taiz would jeopardize the truce and efforts to end the war.
Residents of Taiz said on Saturday that the Houthis had fired a number of artillery rounds at A-Shemasi neighborhood in the east of Taiz, causing large explosions. It is not known whether there were any casualties.
People in Taiz have repeatedly complained that the Houthis have not honored the truce and continue to strike densely populated districts.
Despite local and international pressure, the Houthis have rejected the UN’s proposal to open a main road and four small roads around Taiz, insisting on opening just one narrow, unpaved road.
In New York, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said on Friday that talks over opening roads in Taiz and other governorates were “still ongoing.”
“What we have seen since this ceasefire has been agreed to is a good amount of flights going in and out of Sana’a Airport,” he added during his daily press briefing.
US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said that the international community has made “significant progress” toward ending the war in Yemen and that his priority is to get roads in Taiz open, add flights to more destinations from Sanaa airport, and to accelerate salary payments to public servants in Houthi-controlled areas.