Yemen truce marred as gun battles, air strikes are reported

UN-sponsored ceasefire in Yemen marred as gun battles, air strikes are reported by residents

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Army soldiers check a vehicle at a checkpoint of the historical town of Baraqish in Yemen's al Jawf province after it was taken over by pro-government forces from Houthi fighters April 6, 2016.

Updated Apr 15, 2016

Hours after a UN-brokered ceasefire on Monday, Yemenis say heavy gun battles and air strikes still continue across Yemen.

The ceasefire is aimed at starting peace talks in the war-torn country, where the fighting has killed more than 6,200 Yemenis and displaced millions.

"There's continuous shelling in the downtown and the suburbs and we can hear explosions across the city," said Jameel Abdo Ahmed, a civil servant in the city of Taiz.

Yemen has remained in turmoil since September 2014, when the Houthis backed by Iran overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the city.

The UN-sponsored peace talks will begin on April 18 in Kuwait, bringing together the Houthi militias and the Yemeni government.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies began a military campaign in March 2015, aimed at restoring Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back in power.

The Saudi-led coalition was able to push Houthi militias out of the southern port city of Aden last July, but Houthis still control the capital Sanaa.

The United Nations special envoy for Yemen said that a group of military representatives from both sides would try to make the truce work.

"Now is the time to step back from the brink," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said.

"This truce is in its early stages, violations may occur in the beginning, but we hope the next few hours will see more discipline towards the ceasefire," Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek al Mekhlafi told al Arabiya TV.

TRTWorld and agencies