Shiite rebels control Yemen's capital after ceasefire deal

Shiite rebels control Yemen
# 23 September 2014 02:45 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The Shiite Houthi rebels on Monday set up checkpoints and deployed fighters to guard key government institutions in Yemen's capital Sanaa as they overran the city after one-week battles against the army and Sunni militia, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The rebels set up checkpoints on the main road to the airport which has been shut down since Friday due to fighting in northern Sanaa.

Meanwhile, they deployed fighters at prime minister's office, defense ministry, interior ministry, central bank, where only a few military police were seen guarding the institutions with the rebels.

The interior ministry released a message on its website late on Sunday night, urging security forces not to confront with the rebels.

The Houthi group launched offensive in northwestern Sanaa against Sunni Islah party and its ally 1st Armored Division since Tuesday. After a week-long battle, the group dissolved the division led by Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar who fought against the rebels in the country's far north for years.

The group also stormed the barracks, moving tanks and other military hardware outside Sanaa on Monday. The fighters occupied the general's house in Sanaa, forcing him and his aids to hide elsewhere.

Yemen's official Saba news agency reported Monday that the rebels found 200 bodies in the 1st Armored Division when they searched for weapons in the barracks. The victims were killed in clashes on Sunday, which pushed the death toll in the week-long battles to more than 400.

The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels signed a ceasefire deal late on Sunday that put an end to deadly clashes in the capital.

The two sides agreed to cease fire in Sanaa immediately, nominate a prime minister in a week, form a technocrat government within a month. The government also promised to decrease fuel prices to appease public anger on a steep fuel price hike on late July that provoked the clashes.

The Houthi group, however, refused to signed on a security extension which demand hand-over of towns and cities seized by Houthi in the past weeks, withdrawal of fighters from all areas in Sanaa, an immediate end to protests and surrendering weapons to the government.

The deal empowers the Houthi rebels as it allows the group to play an important role in forming a cabinet and determining the future control of the army. The Houthi rebels and pro-separatism " Southern Movement" will have representatives as president advisor.

The Houthis have been fighting against the Yemeni army in the country's north for years. The last ceasefire deal between the rebels and government was reached in 2010, after a six-year war during which the rebels took control of Saada province.

However, the group started to further its influence to south in late 2013 when it provoked sectarian conflicts in the northern Amran province, only 60 km north of the capital.