Yemen’s Saudi-backed government accuses Houthi rebels of using civilians as human shields

Yemen's government has accused the Houthi rebels of using human shields in their renewed offensive against its last major toehold in the north.

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Yemen’s Saudi-backed government accused Houthi rebels Saturday of using civilians as human shields in their renewed offensive against its last major toehold in the north.Earlier this month, the Iran-backed rebels resumed a push to capture the city of Marib, 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

The city lies close to some of Yemen’s richest oil fields and its capture would be major prize for the rebels.But the fighting has raised fears for the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians sheltering in camps in the surrounding desert that extends to the Saudi border.

The Huthi offensive came as the new US administration removed the rebels from Washington’s blacklist of terrorist organisations in a bid to facilitate aid deliveries to rebel-held areas and pave the way for renewed peace talks.President Joe Biden has also announced an end to US backing for Saudi offensive operations in Yemen, which he said had created a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe”. Observers say the Huthis want to capture Marib to strengthen their hand in eventual peace negotiations.

 

 

 

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