Yemen clashes rage despite call for truce

Clashes between Yemeni forces and the Houthis (Ansarallah) raged in Yemen killing at least 27 people Thursday (November 17th), as a new peace effort appeared to stumble, AFP reported.

Fighting between forces loyal to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Iran-backed Houthis intensified on the outskirts of the flashpoint city of Taez, killing four soldiers and five insurgents, military officials said.

Pro-government forces pressed on with a three-day-old offensive to recapture the presidential residence and police headquarters in the south-western city, they said, as the Houthis brought in reinforcements.

Further to the east, seven Houthis and five soldiers were killed in clashes in Shabwa province, as both parties fought for control of the oil-rich Usaylan region, other military sources said.

Meanwhile, coalition warplanes pounded Houthi positions in Saada, as well as in Nahm and Sarwah, close to the capital Sanaa, they said.

Six other Houthis were killed in an ambush in the central province of al-Bayda, the officials said.

After meeting with Houthi negotiators in Oman, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the Houthis were ready to observe a ceasefire plan taking effect this week, but Yemen's government dismissed the proposal.

"Until now there is no demand from the legitimate government to observe a ceasefire," coalition spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmed Assiri said Thursday. "Consequently, the operations of the Yemeni army, supported by the coalition, will continue."

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