Major Battles Reported in Yemeni Capital

Defectors Fight With Army Around University

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh expressed confidence that Russia and China would defend his continued rule today, as violence again rocked the capital city of Sanaa and troops attacked pro-democracy demonstrators.

The violence included major battles in the Hassaba neighborhood of the capital, near Sanaa University, where regime troops clashed with members of the First Armored Division, which defected to the side of the protesters earlier this year.

The defectors were backed by tribesmen loyal to Sheikh al-Ahmar, and back and forth shelling in the area led to the destruction of a number of homes in the area. Though the fighting is believed to have caused significant casualties, so far no figures have been released.

Yemen was one of the first nations during the Arab Spring to see major protests, and while President Saleh has repeatedly promised to step down when a deal was reached, he is now talking about retaining power well into next year.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.