Govt forces capture Hazm in Yemen after peace talks fail

Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi captures northwestern city of al Hazm after UN-sponsored peace talks suspended

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Tribesmen loyal to Yemen's President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi ride pick-up patrol trucks at the Mass army barracks after the pro-Hadi forces took it from Houthi rebels in the country's northwestern province of Marib December 18, 2015.

Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi took control of the northwestern city of al Hazm, capital of Yemen's northwestern al Jawf Province, on Friday after Houthi delegation halted the United Nations (UN)- brokered peace talks.

Members of the Iranian backed Shiite Houthi delegation attending the peace talks suspended the talks in Switzerland on Friday with the Hadi Government due to cease-fire violations.

The delegation announced that it will not return to the talks until the UN condemns violations by Hadi's government.

Hadi loyalist troops regained control of al Labnat military base near al Hazm which was previously capture by the Houthis and their allies loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen, which is one of the poorest countries in the Arabian peninsula, was plunged into conflict last year when the Houthis captured the country's capital Sanaa before going on to seize Yemen's southern regions and capture Aden.

President Hadi asked Saudi Arabia for help against the Houthis, in response to which Saudi-led forces began conducting air strikes in March targeting the Houthis and their allies.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that two ballistic missiles were fired from Yemeni territory near Marib towards Saudi Arabia in the latest fighting.

One of them was intercepted by a Saudi Arabian air defence system and the second landed in a desert area near Najran, an eastern city in the country.

"The leadership of the coalition asserts that while it is committed to the success of the negotiations in Geneva ... it will not abide by the ceasefire for long in the shadow of this threat to the kingdom's territory," the SPA said.

Both the government and the rebels have accused each other of violating a one-week long truce that was planned to start on Tuesday.

The UN-brokered peace talks started behind the cameras on Tuesday with the aim of ending the nine month conflict in Yemen that has killed almost 6,000 people and displaced millions.

UN Secretary-General Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (C) opens the Yemen peace talks in Switzerland, December 15, 2015 / Photo by Reuters

The talks were reportedly also suspended on Wednesday evening after the Houthi delegation refused to release detained senior officials including Defence Minister Mahmoud al Subaihi and Hadi's brother Nasser.

In Geneva, UN spokesman Ahmed Fawzi said on Friday he expects the talks to continue.

"We continue to work with both sides. Sometimes we are working in separate sessions, sometimes together, based on what we think is more effective," he said.

TRTWorld and agencies