Saudi-led coalition provides air support for Yemen’s Saleh

Aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition bombed Houthi positions in Sanaa overnight on Sunday, residents and local media said, aiming to shore up supporters of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh as they battle the Iran-aligned Houthi group.

An armed Houthi follower gestures aftger attending a gathering celebrating Houthi advancement on forces loyal to Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh at Tahrir Square in Sanaa, Yemen December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Saleh announced on Saturday he was ready to turn a “new page” in ties with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on Yemeni citizens, in a move that could pave the way to end nearly three years of war.

The apparent shift in position came as Saleh’s supporters battled Houthi fighters in Hadda, a district in southern Sanaa where members of Saleh’s family, including his nephew Tareq, live. It was the fourth day of clashes sparked by what Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) called an attempt to seize a main mosque in the city.

The fighting has killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and raised concern of further casualties among civilians.

The clashes had added a new layer to an already complex situation in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, where a proxy war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Saudi-backed Hadi has caused one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent times.

Saleh’s announcement was welcomed by the Saudi-led coalition, which has struggled to achieve any progress against the Houthi-Saleh alliance that had controlled most of northern Yemen since 2015 and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.

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