Source: Yemen Times
Amran governorate witnessed a momentary cessation of hostilities on Sunday following fierce fighting between Houthi rebels and an alliance of the 310th Armored Brigade and Sunni tribesmen.
A military official who spoke to the Yemen Times on condition of anonymity said that the latest spate of violence broke out on July 4, after the Houthis attacked a security checkpoint of the 310th Armored Brigade located in the Al-Arbaeen area of Amran.
The official added that this most recent violence has been the fiercest so far, reaching strategically important locations in Amran, including hotels, a government compound, a college and state-run factories, and leaving dozens killed and injured.
The Yemen Times received local reports claiming that the road to Sana’a has intermittently been closed since July 4. Some citizens of Amran city are reportedly waiting to flee the fighting once the road re-opens.
The commander of the Reserve Forces, General Ali Al-Jayfi, sent five battalions to Amran to back the 310th Armored Brigade on Sunday evening, according to Hussein Barman, a senior state official in Amran’s local government.
The reinforcements were deployed to various military positions within Amran, according to Barman.
In a televised speech on Thursday, Houthi leader Abdulmalek Bader Al-Deen Al-Houthi, accused the Islah Party of obstructing a ceasefire agreement proposed by the Defense Ministry on June 23. He compared members of Islah with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
On Sunday the Islah party’s website, Islah.net, released a statement by Saeed Shamsan, head of the Islah Political Department, calling on the Houthis to cease fighting the government.
“The continuous bloodshed resulting from Houthis’ fight against the soldiers, residents and state institutions of several areas in Yemen causes the government, the Yemeni people and also the international community to oppose them…,” he added.
Amer Al-Marani, a negotiator for the Houthis, blamed Brigadier Hameed Al-Qushaibi, commander of the 310th Armored Brigade, for the collapse of the latest ceasefire agreement.
“The agreement would have succeeded if Al-Qushaibi agreed to hand over the locations under his control,” he explained.
Since March 2014 the Houthis have demanded that the state replace leading government officials in Amran.
President Hadi partly conceded to the Houthis’ demands by appointing Mohammed Saleh Shamlan as as the new governor of Amran on June 8.
However, Brigadier Al-Qushaibi, who the Houthis allege is acting in the interests of Islah, has so far remained in power.
“The [310th Brigade] has turned into a brigade that isn’t associated with the Defense Ministry. The state should replace the brigade’s current leadership with an independent brigadier,” said Al-Marani.
The presidential committee that proposed the ineffective ceasefire agreement on June 23 held an emergency meeting on the morning of Sunday, July 6, to discuss the situation in Amran and other fighting fronts near Sana’a, according to the state-run Saba News Agency.
Representatives of the Houthis and the senior adviser to the UN Special Envoy to Yemen attended the meeting, according to Saba News.
“The committee calls on all parties to stop worsening the security situation and to stop attacks on state institutions and innocent residents in Amran. It deems any attack against the city and its residents a red line that cannot be crossed,” the committee explained.