Yemen's deadly civil war takes an unexpected turn

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Yemen's deadly civil war takes an unexpected turn

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Residents of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, are used to the sounds of gunfire, but in the last four days they've had to adjust to new faultlines in the conflict.

Point of view

"I call on our brothers in neighbouring countries ... to stop their aggression and lift the blockade ... and we will turn the page."

Ali Abdullah Saleh Former President of Yemen

Once allies, rebel Houthi fighters and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh have now turned against each other.

New page with Saudi Arabia

Saleh says he's ready for a "new page" with the Saudi-led coalition he's been fighting with the Houthis since the gulf state joined the conflict in 2015.

"We vow to our brothers and neighbours that, after a ceasefire is in place and the blockade is lifted ... we will hold dialogue directly through the legitimate authority represented by our parliament," he said.

The Saudis want to restore the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was forced into retreat and then exile by the fighting.


The head of the Houthi's Ansarullah group, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, has described Saleh's change of heart as "sedition", and appealed to him to show more wisdom and maturity.

"Saleh's speech is a coup against our alliance and partnership, and exposed the deception of those who claim to stand against aggression," al-Houthi said in a statement made Al Masirah TV.

Plight of Yemen's civilians

In the last two years, Yemen's conflict has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced two million, caused a cholera outbreak infecting a million people, and brought the country to the brink of famine.

One small glimmer of hope: 5,500 tonnes of flour docked in Yemen's Hodeidah harbour on the Red Sea after more than a fortnight of a Saudi-led blockade designed to stop the flow of arms from Iran, which Saudi-Arabia accuses of propping up the rebellion.

For the 17 million people who don't know where their next meal is coming from, however, it may be little more than a drop in the ocean.