Fighting in Yemen killed at least 44 people in a 24-hour period to yesterday, military officials said, as the UN’s peace envoy arrived in the capital to meet rebels.
Saudi-backed government forces clashed with the Shia Houthi rebels and fighters loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in battles across western Yemen.
The UN’s mediator, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, landed at Sanaa airport yesterday afternoon ahead of meetings with Houthi and Saleh representatives.
The envoy met this week with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the Saudi capital to prepare for a resumption of talks between the two sides in Kuwait tomorrow.
Kuwait City has already hosted more than two months of UN-backed negotiations that have failed to make any real headway.
The talks, aimed at ending a war that the United Nations says has killed more than 6,400 people since March 2015, were suspended at the end of June.
Fighting has persisted across Yemen despite a truce that came into force on April 11.
Yesterday pro-government forces seized a mountain base from Houthis in Nahm, northeast of Sanaa, said military spokesman Abdullah al-Shandaqi.
Eight loyalists and 17 rebels were killed in the battle, he said.
A Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen since March 2015 supported the assault with air strikes, said military sources.
Four soldiers and four rebels also died during battles in Marib province, east of Sanaa, when pro-government forces repelled a rebel attempt to seize a hill overlooking their base, a government source said.
Further north, coalition air strikes against a rebel convoy killed seven rebels in Jawf province, said the army.
In the oil-rich southern province of Shabwa, four soldiers died during battles that saw the army make “slow progress” against rebels, said Colonel Motleq Jawhar, an infantry commander in the region.
UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed disembarks his plane upon his arrival at Sanaa’s International Airport yesterday.