Yemen Houthis rally in show of force after deadly clashes

Yemen Houthis rally in show of force after deadly clashes

"I call on brors of neighboring countries and coalition, to stop ir attacks, to lift blockade, to open airports and to allow entry of food aid and medicines, in return we will pass page (.)" And we will deal with m in a positive way, said Saleh in a televised intervention.

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

A source in Saleh's forces said Houthi fighters were positioned around the residences of two of the ex-president's nephews.

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has said he is ready for a "new page" in ties with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country, in a move that could offer a pathway to end almost three years of war.

He fought six wars against the Huthis when he was president, but joined forces with them to take over the capital in 2014.

The former Yemeni president's break with the Houthis came after five days of bitter clashes around the capital, Sana'a, between his supporters and those of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals. The Arab states recently imposed a total blockade on Yemen after a rebel missile was shot down near Riyadh.

Saleh went on to denounce the Houthi militia, which he accuses of being responsible for the humanitarian disaster inside the country, and he insisted that the Yemeni people are standing up for themselves to get rid of them.

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"The decision by (Saleh's) General People's Congress to take the lead and their choice to side with their people will free Yemen of. militias loyal to Iran", the statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said. The coalition has also been accused of committing war crimes through indiscriminate attacks on residential areas in cities controlled by the rebel forces.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, tells VOA that former president Saleh has a "strong political instinct" and that he made his move against the Houthis at a time when the situation on the ground is favorable.

The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Saleh's remarks.

The head of the Houthi's Ansarullah group, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, has described Saleh's change of heart as "sedition", and appealed to him to show more wisdom and maturity.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said at least 80 people have been killed in this week's clashes between forces loyal to Saleh and Houthis.

According to United Nations officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 percent of the country's population has been displaced as a direct result of the conflict.

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