Yemen's president has appointed the half brother of the country's slain ex-president to head a military force.

Saturday's decision by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi assigns Ali Saleh al-Ahmar, the half brother of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as commander of the country's reserve force.

Al-Ahmar fled the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, to Saudi Arabia following Saleh's death in December at the hands of Shiite Houthi rebels, Saleh's onetime allies.

The Houthis and Saleh's forces joined ranks in 2014, sweeping the capital and forcing Hadi's internationally recognized government to flee. Months later, a Saudi-led coalition backed Hadi's government and waged an all-out campaign against the Houthis and Saleh's forces.

Saleh was killed after he expressed readiness to negotiate with the coalition, a move the Houthis saw as betrayal.