Middle East

Yemen forces capture ground as fragile talks continue

Yemeni government tank (file photo) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fighting has continued despite the declaration of a ceasefire

Yemeni government forces have captured a rebel-held town in the north of the country, as fighting threatened to derail peace talks and a ceasefire.

Hundreds of troops crossed into Yemen from Saudi Arabia, taking control of Hazm, capital of Jawf province, military and tribal sources said.

On Thursday, troops seized Harad, near the Saudi border, in Hajja province.

Violence has continued, despite a UN-backed ceasefire and peace talks in Switzerland which began on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia said two ballistic missiles were fired at the kingdom from Yemen on Thursday.

It said one was intercepted and the other landed in desert east of Najran. It did not say whether there were any casualties.

Rebels have also accused Yemeni and allied Saudi-led coalition forces of repeatedly breaching the ceasefire, which is meant to last for a week.

Houthi rebels and government delegates have been meeting in Biel in Switzerland to try to end months of fighting.

At least 5,700 people, almost half of them civilians, have been killed in air strikes and clashes on the ground since the Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign in March in support of the government.

The offensive was launched after the Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, and advanced towards the second city of Aden.

The already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen has also deteriorated severely, with more than 21 million people - four-fifths of the population - now requiring aid.

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