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Houthi rebels killed in N.Yemen clashes: Army

03 December 2017

The Qatari regime had been attempting since Friday to mediate a rapprochement between the Houthi militias and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces, an informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.

But Houthi rebels, his allies until this week, accused him of a "coup". The reaction is another sign of a developing riftamong rebel groups in the Yemen civil war.

"I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries ... to stop their aggression and lift the blockade ... and we will turn the page", the former president said in a televised speech.

The remarks came after Saleh supporters battled Houthi fighters for a fourth day in the capital Sana'a as the two sides traded blame for a rift between allies that could affect the course of a fight against the invading Saudi regime.

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The two groups had been fighting the Hadi government for almost three years under an uneasy alliance.

Hadi's office also commended the continuous support of the Arab alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the response to get rid of the "worst bloody sectarian coup supported by Iran".

The coalition accuses Saleh of having betrayed his Arab neighbours by joining the Houthi-led forces they say are aligned with non-Arab Iran.

"Saleh's speech is a coup against our alliance and partnership. and exposed the deception of those who claim to stand against aggression", the spokesman said in a statement carried by the rebels' Al Masirah TV. His support has dwindled over the past two years, so his potential decision to break up with the Houthis would not result in a quick end to the war.

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For his part, leader of Huthi, Abdul Malik al-Huthi, has described Saleh's attitude as "sedition" and has been prepared for tribal arbitration, after warning that main beneficiary of this confrontation is Saudi coalition. There is in fact no Yemen as a country: "It has been torn apart".

The war in Yemen, the poorest country of the Arab world, is one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of our times.

The UN urged the coalition in a statement Saturday to "fully lift" the blockade on Yemen's red sea ports saying that partial lifting only "slows the collapse toward a massive humanitarian tragedy costing millions of lives".

Saleh agreed to leave presidency in 2012, n 33 years in front of Yemen, after months of popular protests and worldwide pressure (including that of its neighbours) to prevent anor civil war being unleashed as in Libya or Syria.

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Houthi rebels killed in N.Yemen clashes: Army