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  • A tank stands close to the Presidential Palace in the capital city of Sanaa

    A tank stands close to the Presidential Palace in the capital city of Sanaa | Photo: Reuters

The conflict has intensified since the Saudi-led coalition sent ground troops into the country.

The exiled government of Yemen led by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi confirmed Sunday that it will not participate in upcoming peace talks organized by the United Nations.

Over 20 million people – nearly 80 percent of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The announcement comes as the conflict intensified Sunday, when Saudi-led ground troops and Hadi loyalist launched a large-scale operation in the center of the country to recover territory controlled by the Houthi movement.

The Saudi troops and the pro-Hadi forces are regrouping in the oil-rich province of Marib.

According to military sources, the operation aims to recover the capital city of Sanaa, controlled by the Shiite Houthi rebels since last year.

On Saturday, Saudi air raids destroyed the Yemeni state television channel, which serves as the main communication channel for the Houthi movement.

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After months of fighting, Hadi – backed by Saudi Arabia – rejected any peace talks, claiming the conditions in U.N. Security Council resolution 2216 have not been met by the Houthis.

The resolution calls for a full arms embargo against the Houthi movement, as well as their immediate withdrawal from all major cities in Yemen.

The ousted president's supporters also said they would not participate in the peace talks unless the resolution was implemented.

However, as critics have pointed out, the Saudi-led intervention on Yemen – which began in March – was never authorized by the U.N.

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Peace talks between the Houthi leadership and the Hadi government were set to begin by Sept. 24.

According to U.N. figures, nearly 5,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since March and over a million have been displaced.

The Saudi-led coalition has imposed a blockade on the country, preventing humanitarian aid from entering the country. Over 20 million people – nearly 80 percent of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance and 16 million people are without access to drinking water.

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