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Yemen pro-Hadi loyalists boosted by new Saudi-trained forces

The popular resistance and forces loyal to the government make progress in Marib [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 19 November, 2015

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New Yemeni loyalist forces entered Marib as anti-Houthi fighters advanced in central Yemen. Meanwhile, Iran has accused Saudi Arabia of worsening the conflict with its military intervention in the country.
Fighters loyal to Yemen President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi have arrived in the city of Marib after undergoing military training in Saudi Arabia. 

The forces arrived as loyalists took control of new areas in the western Marib province, which lies to the east of the capital Sanaa.

Sources from the loyalist popular resistance units said that they are led by General Hashem al-Ahmar, and is the military wing of the al-Ahmar family.

Considered to be one of the most important families in Yemen, supporters have been prominent opponents of the Houthis and ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The force received training at a camp in Sharurah, a southern town in Saudi Arabia, according to informed sources speaking to al-Araby al-Jadeed.

Previous reinforcements have also come from this camp in the last few months.
One well-known Yemeni commentator offered his own opinion

Heavy fighting continued in the west of Marib province, where the forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi - backed by Saudi-led air support - were able to control new areas that overlook the centre of the province.

In Taiz, coalition air raids targeted several areas including the city's airport.

The popular resistance and loyalists were able to advance as part of an operation to regain control of the province from the Houthi rebels.

Iran has called on all sides in Yemen's war to join UN-sponsored peace talks and accused Saudi Arabia of worsening the conflict with its military intervention against the rebels.

In talks with visiting UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Wednesday, Iranian officials including Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif backed his efforts to resolve the conflict.

Stressing the UN's role "in finding a political solution in Yemen", Zarif called for "the participation of all Yemeni groups" in talks Cheikh Ahmed is hoping to convene in Geneva this month, the IRNA news agency reported.

UN efforts have repeatedly failed to resolve the conflict in Yemen, where the Houthi rebels have seized control of large parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
     

A Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes against the rebels in March and has sent ground troops in support of a fightback by forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

In separate talks with Cheikh Ahmed, Iran's deputy foreign minister told the envoy that Saudi Arabia's intervention was making security worse.

"For the Islamic Republic of Iran, the security of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the region are important," the ISNA news agency quoted Hossein Amir Abdollahian as saying.

"But Saudi Arabia cannot endanger the security of others to provide its own security," he said.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has been identified by the United Nations as one of the world's worst, with 80 percent of the country's population on the brink of famine.

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