Yemen at UN calls for land forces to 'save' country

Yemeni tribal gunmen from the Popular Resistance Committees loyal to fugitive President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi gather on a street in the southern city of Taez during ongoing clashes with Shiite Huthi rebels on May 6, 2015 (AFP Photo/Abdel Rahman Abdallah)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Yemen's mission to the United Nations called Wednesday for a ground intervention to push back a Huthi rebel offensive in the south of a country where conditions are deteriorating after weeks of war.

The mission also urged rights organizations to document "barbaric violations" allegedly carried out by the Iran-backed Huthis in Aden, in the south of Yemen, and other cities.

"We urge the international community to quickly intervene by land forces to save Yemen, especially Aden and Taiz," the mission said in a letter sent to the UN Security Council.

More than 50 civilians, including women and children, fleeing fighting in the port city of Aden were killed when Huthi air strikes hit their boat, the letter said.

Huthi militias are "targeting anything that moves in the city of Aden," said the letter obtained by AFP.

The government will spare no effort to bring the Huthis to "international justice as war criminals," it said.

The letter was sent to the 15-member council on Wednesday as Huthi rebels battled forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi for control of Aden's Tawahi neighborhood, which houses the pro-Hadi Aden TV.

Pro-Hadi forces, including military units and militia fighters, have been battling the rebels for weeks in Aden, the president's former stronghold before he fled to Riyadh.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched an air campaign on March 26 to prevent the Huthi rebels from taking the entire territory and to restore Hadi's authority.

The coalition sent a small force to Aden at the weekend but coalition commanders have denied that a major ground offensive is being prepared.

The appeal from Yemen at the United Nations came as new peace envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was en route to Riyadh for talks on relaunching talks on a political solution.

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