News / Middle East

Yemeni Army, Tribes Launch Southern Offensive

Yemeni forces backed by hundreds of armed tribesmen have launched an offensive to retake the southern town of Zinjibar, after months of fighting with Islamist fighters.

Security officials said Sunday that several militants have been killed in what they described as the fiercest fighting in the provincial capital since late May, when Zinjibar fell to Ansar al-Sharia, or Supporters of Sharia (Islamic law).

After weeks of pleas from the military's 25th brigade, which had been under siege for weeks, the government sent its first reinforcements to Zinjibar on Saturday. Local tribes agreed to join forces with the Yemeni military in its attempt to drive out Ansar al-Sharia, which the government says has links to al-Qaida.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people rallied Sunday in the country's two largest cities to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the 33rd anniversary of his autocratic rule.

Protesters in the southern city of Taiz waved black flags to mark the anniversary of Saleh's rise to power in 1978. Opposition activists also chanted anti-Saleh slogans in a main square of the capital, Sana'a, where they have been camping for months in an attempt to force him out of office.

Saleh has been receiving treatment in a Saudi hospital since suffering severe burns in a June 3 bomb attack on his presidential compound. The bombing also wounded his prime minister, the Sana'a governor and the chairman of Shura Council, a branch of Yemen's legislature.

Yemen's state news agency says the president visited the three wounded officials at the Saudi hospital on Sunday, and expressed happiness about what it calls the "constant progress in their health." Saleh has rejected protesters' demands to step down immediately, insisting that he should lead a transition to a more democratic system of government.

It is not clear when he will return to Yemen, which has been led in his absence by his deputy, Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

On Saturday, Yemeni opposition figures said they have formed a transitional council that will lead efforts to end Saleh's grip on power.

Opposition youth groups announced the 17-member council's formation in the capital, Sana'a. They also named their choices for some key leadership positions, including a former defense minister who would serve as the country's armed forces commander.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid