UNITED NATIONS, The UN special envoy for Yemen on Saturday stressed the need to protect civilians as clashes broke out in the Arab world's poorest country.

"There has been a sharp escalation of serious events in (the Yemeni capital of) Sanaa and other governorates over the last 24 hours. We are deeply concerned by the implications of these events on the civilian population," said Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in a statement.

He was referring to fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two forces were previously allies against forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

"We urge the parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law including their obligations to respect the principle of distinction, proportionality and precaution. All sides must exercise restraint and ensure that their attacks are never directed at civilians or civilian objects. We caution against the serious impact of armed violence against civilians," said Ahmed.

"We call on the parties to urgently come to the negotiating table and to engage in the peace process. We reiterate our position that the political solution is the only way out of a prolonged conflict in Yemen."

Dozens of people have been killed in the fighting, which started Wednesday in Sanaa, between the rebel alliance.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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