Published: Ср, Декабря 06, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Yemen humanitarian situation likely to worsen with Saleh death: Jim Mattis

Yemen humanitarian situation likely to worsen with Saleh death: Jim Mattis

"Yemen stands on the brink of a catastrophic starvation", he said.

Residents reported heavy bombing, and a United Nations official said at least 25 airstrikes hit the city over the past 24 hours.

Saleh and the Houthis used to be allies in the struggle against the government headed by President Abd-Rabbu Hadi.

Saleh had joined forces with the Houthis in 2014 when they took control of large parts of the country, including the capital.

Mattis said he did not believe the US military would play a role in easing the humanitarian situation. On Tuesday, Saleh supporters said his nephew Tareq, another top commander, and the head of his party, Aref Zouka, had both been killed.

"People are reporting that there are many arrests and they are trying to shoot military men and (Saleh party) members". The council called the deteriorating humanitarian situation "dire", saying Yemen "stands at the brink of catastrophic starvation".

But with Saleh's forces seemingly in disarray, it was not immediately clear if the Saudi-led coalition would be able to turn the split to its advantage.

The Arabian peninsula's poorest country, Yemen is one of the most violent fronts in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who have also backed opposing sides in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere across the Middle East.

Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari on Tuesday as saying that Saudi Arabia, "on behalf of the USA and the Zionist regime (Israel), has a very important role in creating insecurity" in the Middle East.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that the killing of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh would, in the short term, likely worsen an already dire humanitarian situation in the country. He also called for a new approach in the battle against the rebel militia, who were allied with Saleh before he turned against them by backing the Saudi-led coalition.

The end of the alliance between the Houthis and Saleh might have tilted the three-year civil war in favor of Yemen's internationally recognized government and the Saudi-led coalition.

A video circulating online on Monday showed Saleh's body with a gaping head wound dumped in a pickup truck by rebels — a grisly end recalling that of longtime strongman Saleh's contemporary, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, in 2011.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that Houthi claims on Sunday they launched a missile at Abu Dhabi demonstrated "how destabilizing this war is for the region and how the Iranian regime is exploiting the war for its own political ambitions".

Saleh's slaying likely gives the rebels the upper hand in the dayslong fighting for the country's capital, Sanaa.

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