Hundreds of Colombian nationals are fighting alongside Saudi Arabian-led forces in Yemen, according to reports Sunday.
The troops include former Colombian soldiers fighting under contract with Saudi Arabia.
According to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, the first group of just under 100 Colombian troops arrived in Yemen earlier this month. The newspaper has reported the troops were set to arrive in the southern port city of Aden, which is currently under the control of Saudi Arabia and forced allied with Yemen's ousted president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
As many as 800 Colombian fighters could take up front-line positions under Saudi command, according to the newspaper. In recent days unconfirmed reports have surfaced the number of Colombians in Yemen may have already reached that number.
The news comes as Colombia’s government advances in peace accords with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas to end the country five-decade old conflict.
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The troops are expected to be involved in an ongoing offensive against the Houthi movement, which currently holds Yemen's capital, Sanaa.
Yemen has been in a state of civil war since early this year, when the Houthi launched a massive offensive that led to the capture of Sanaa and Hadi fleeing the country.
The conflict in the country between the Houthi and Hadi loyalists escalated in March when Saudi Arabia and 10 of its regional allies started bombing Yemen, aided by United States' logistical and intelligence support.
The Saudis have demanded the Houthi hand back power to Hadi, though the movement remains in control of much of Yemen's west.
The conflict has already left thousands of Yemenis dead, with aid agencies warning of a humanitarian disaster.
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