Thousands of Houthi loyalists take to the streets of the Yemeni capital Sanaa to show support for the Iran-backed group. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Thousands of Houthi protesters took to the streets of the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Monday (August 24), brandishing weapons and chanting slogans denouncing the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on the war-torn nation. The protest came as rockets fired by Houthi militiamen killed 14 civilians, most of them children, as fighting intensified for control of Yemen's third largest city Taiz, residents and witnesses said. The northern-based Houthis, a Shi'ite Muslim group, took control of Yemen's capital Sanaa last September. Arab 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 of Aden. Months of air strikes and arms deliveries by the rich Gulf states to government loyalists began to pay off last month, when they seized back Aden and made surprise gains toward Yemen's north and Sanaa. Earlier this month, the U.N. envoy to Yemen said he believes his plan is increasingly gaining acceptance among the warring parties. U.N.-led talks in June between northern Houthi rebel fighters and supporters of the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi failed to end the war, in which the UN says nearly 2,000 civilians have been killed. The five days of talks in Geneva produced agreement in principle on a ceasefire and withdrawal of armed forces. The talks broke up before a final deal could be agreed, but Ould Cheikh Ahmed said he remained optimistic. 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. The United Nations is working to broker a political compromise to end the civil war which has killed over 4,300 people and avoid a showdown in the Houthis' northern heartland.