Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Urban Warfare Paralyses Sana’a

Urban Warfare Paralyses Sana’a

Monday, 4 December, 2017 - 07:00
Houthi fighters man an anti-aircraft gun during clashes with supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, December 2, 2017. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP)

Intense urban firefight between forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi militias has turned Sana’a into a ghost town where schools, universities, and most shops and markets, mainly those close to the battles raging in the capital’s center and south, were closed on Sunday.

Houthis were trying to recapture security quarters and other locations they had lost during the first day of Intifada facing Saleh’s forces and their supporters.

Asharq Al-Awsat spoke by phone on Sunday with a number of residents from Al-Siyasi district in southern Sana’a. They said they were unable to leave their houses to buy necessities amid clashes and sniper fire from gunmen spread rooftops, and continuous shelling.

According to AFP, Saleh loyalists renewed a bid to seize control of Al-Jarraf district, a stronghold of the Houthis who fortified their positions with dozens of vehicles mounted with machine guns.

They said the Houthis had brought reinforcements from their northern strongholds to south Sana’a.

Houthi insurgents broke their partnership with Saleh after he announced that he was opening a new chapter with the Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen.

“Fighting is restricting the movement of people and life-saving services within Sana'a city,” a statement issued on Sunday by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman said.

It added that “ambulances and medical teams cannot access the injured and people cannot go outside to buy food and other necessities.”

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted on Sunday UN and other aid officials as saying that the organization is trying to evacuate at least 140 aid workers from the Yemeni capital amid fighting that has cut off the airport road, but is awaiting approval from the Saudi-led coalition.

Meanwhile, the UAE denied rumors published by Houthi-led media outlets in Yemen that a missile was fired towards al-Barakah nuclear plant, asserting that it possessed a missile defense system that could deal with any such threats.

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