At least 22 killed in conflicts near Yemen's capital

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At least 22 people were killed in battles between Yemeni government forces and Houthi rebels in Nehm front line, northeast of Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa on Tuesday, a military source said.

The battles erupted earlier Tuesday at al-Minsa mountain, which overlooks the regular road linking rebel-held Sanaa and government-held Marib province.

"The government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition warplanes, were trying to advance into sites near the capital, which was controlled by Houthis supported by forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"Neither advance nor progress were made by any sides during the battles as the fighting is still ongoing," the source said.

He added that two soldiers were killed and four others wounded in the government forces, while Houthis lost nearly 20 militants in the battles.

Houthi media has not yet reported their casualties.

Battles in Nehm, about 90 km northeast of Sanaa, flared up regularly as the government forces have been trying to make advance into the capital, of which Houthis seized control in late 2014.

The war pits the Iranian-allied Shiite Houthi rebel movement against a Sunni Saudi-led military coalition after Houthis toppled Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government more than two years ago.

The Saudi-led coalition forces backing Hadi started military intervention and sea-air-land siege in March 2015, trying to recapture territories, including Sanaa, and reinstate Hadi into power.

Hadi forces have managed to completely liberate six southern provinces out of the total 23 last year.

The war has since killed more than 10,000, mostly civilians, and displaced around 3 million as the all-out siege has caused severe shortage of imports of medicines and food.

The country has also been hit by a deadly cholera outbreak and is on the edge of famine.

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