Fierce clashes erupt between pro-Hadi fighters and Houthi rebels as the battle for Yemen's third largest city rages on. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Fierce clashes erupted in Taiz between Iran-backed Houthi militiamen and troops loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Sunday (September 20) as both sides try to claim control of Yemen's third largest city, residents and witnesses said. There were no official reports of casualties, but Reuters video showed a number of wounded being treated at a local hospital. Saudi-led coalition forces fighting alongside President Hadi's troops launched an all-out air offensive in March on Yemen in the hopes of ousting the Shi'ite militia. Fighters loyal to Yemen's exiled government have been contesting control of Taiz - Yemen's cultural capital - with the Houthis since April. Hundreds of combatants and civilians have been killed from clashes and coalition air strikes. The Saudi-backed government declared Taiz a "disaster area" last month and urged the international community and the U.N. Security Council to intervene to stop the bloodshed. The northern-based Houthis, a Shi'ite Muslim group, took control of Yemen's capital Sanaa last September. Arab Gulf countries intervened in the conflict in March to halt a Houthi advance into the south which caused the Saudi-backed government to flee to Riyadh from its refuge in the southern port city of Aden. Months of air strikes and arms deliveries by the rich Gulf states to government loyalists began to pay off in July, when they seized back Aden and made surprise gains toward Yemen's north and Sanaa. Gulf Arab states view the Houthis as a proxy for their arch rival, Iran, but the group says it is fighting a revolution against a corrupt government beholden to the West.