Fighting Escalates as Fears of Civil War Grow in Yemen

Regime Troops Fire on Tribal Chief's Home

The clashes between the Saleh regime and Yemeni tribal forces which erupted yesterday have escalated greatly today, with both sides dealing considerable blows over the day and major fighting throughout the day in Sanaa.

The fighting in the north, again, centered around tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar. Yesterday troops tried to surround his neighborhood, today they simply fired shells at his home. Ahmar was a long-time supporter of Saleh, but began backing the protesters publicly in March.

Shortly thereafter, tribal forces marched into the capital and opened fire on government buildings, spawning street battles across the city which have continued through the evening. At least 38 were killed, according to health officials, including 14 pro-Saleh troops.

The killings led to further fears of a civil war nationwide. The govt military has already split more or less in half, with key commanders backing the protesters. The tribal forces, which on a whole dwarf the government’s, were mostly staying out of the fight but are increasingly falling on the side of the pro-democracy movement.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.