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Source: Yemen Times

Yemeni warplanes carried out airstrikes in Amran city after Houthi fighters took control of the area on Tuesday.

Ali Al-Qahoom of the Houthi Media Office told the Yemen Times that the airstrikes targeted the headquarters of the 310th Armored Brigade after it was seized by Houthis fighters on Tuesday evening. The brigade’s commander Hamid Al-Qushaibi was reportedly killed soon afterwards.

The Houthis faced no resistance in seizing the Special Security Forces camp in the city the previous day, a source in the 310th Armored Brigade said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, reinforcements sent from Sana’a stopped short of Amran city in the Sehab district.

The Houthi-run Al-Masira channel, which broadcasts from Lebanon, announced that the Houthis were in full control of Amran city on Tuesday. “No government offices in the city will be harmed,” was the promise from Mohamed Al-Bokhaiti, a member of the Houthi Political Office in Sana’a. He added that pro-Houthi local militants helped clear the city of what he referred to as Islah-affiliated armed men.

Mohamed Nabhan, a co-ordinator for several relief organizations in Amran, told the Yemen Times that the Special Security Forces camp was “handed over” to the Houthis in what he considers to be an “act of treason.”

The UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Yemen, Johannes Van Der Klaauw, said there are reports of over 200 people having been killed over the past few days, including women and children. Meanwhile, 15,000 people have been displaced, according to the Red Crescent.

In a statement Wednesday morning the presidential committee tasked with overseeing a ceasefire held the Houthis accountable for the violence in Amran city.

“There was an agreement that the commander of the 310th brigade would leave the city and the military police would take over the brigade, but the Houthis breached the agreement right after it was inked,” the statement read.

The Supreme Security Committee headed by President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi demanded that the Houthis hand over weapons seized from the brigade and withdraw from military positions they have captured.

As fighting between the Houthis and troops of the 310th Brigade was raging on Tuesday Hadi paid a brief visit to Saudi Arabia, which was involved in the fighting against Houthis between 2004 and 2010.

This most recent outbreak of violence between the Houthis and the 310th Armored Brigade broke out on March 22 after armed Houthis were denied access to Amran City, according to the Ministry of Interior.

 

ANALYSIS: Factionalized military a source of conflict

According to some observers, the ongoing clashes in Amran and other governorates in Yemen can in part be attributed to factionalism within the military.

Divisions inside the Yemeni military came to the fore during the 2011 uprising, when former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s fragile patrimonial leadership structure began to disintegrate and the military became roughly divided into “pro-revolution” and “pro-Saleh” groups. Even after Saleh’s official resignation in November 2011, however, the network he had established over decades to some extent endured, with Saleh’s family members continuing to hold crucial military positions.

Following an initiative by President Hadi, the Yemeni military was restructured in April 2013, with crucial Saleh loyalists such as Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh and Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar being removed from influential military positions. In spite of such restructuring, Saleh continues to have powerful allies within the military and security forces.

Today, some factions within the military side variously with the Southern Movement, which aims for independence for the South; the Houthis, which control large areas in the north of the country; the Islah Party, Yemen’s largest opposition party often associated with the Muslim Brotherhood; and former President Saleh.

Much of the violence in Yemen can be attributed to these divisions within the military.

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