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Hundreds of families are displaced from a rebel-held area in northern Yemen

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — More than two thousand Yemeni families have been displaced after violent clashes in the Al-Jawf Governorate in northern Yemen, which led to the Houthi rebels taking control of a strategic city, the United Nations announced on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the rebels entered the city of Al-Hazm, the provincial capital bordering the Saudi border, after weeks of battles with government forces backed by a military coalition led by Riyadh.

Analysts said the rebels ’control of the capital, Jawf, could help the Houthis achieve a major breakthrough in the conflict, which since its inception nearly five years ago has killed and injured tens of thousands of civilians and displaced millions of people from their homes.

The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday that 2,100 Yemeni families were displaced from Al-Jawf Governorate and arrived in the neighboring Marib Governorate on Sunday and Monday following the rebels’ control of Al-Hazm city.

The rebels were already controlling large parts of Al-Jawf governorate, but its capital, which is about 150 km south of the border with Saudi Arabia, was still under the control of government forces.

Yemen has been witnessing a war since 2014 between the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Fighting intensified in March 2015, with Saudi Arabia leading a military alliance in support of government forces.

Last February, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced that 19 children and 12 other civilians were killed during an air strike in a rebel-held area in Jouf, most likely by Saudi-led coalition aircraft.

The raids occurred the day after the crash of a coalition fighter plane in a nearby area in Al-Jouf.

There are 3.3 million displaced people in Yemen, while 24.1 million people, or more than two-thirds of the population, need humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations, which describes the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as the worst in the world today.

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