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ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF SANAA, Yemen – In the rocky highlands outside of Yemen's rebel-held capital, it quickly becomes clear how the Arab world's poorest country remains mired in a stalemated civil war.
Soldiers and militiamen loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized government describe having a tantalizing view on a clear day of Sanaa's international airport from the moonscape mountains. The price is a steady barrage of incoming fire on the exposed hillside from Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, that makes any further advance treacherous, even with the aid of Saudi-led airstrikes.
The nearly three-year civil war, pitting the Saudi-led coalition against the rebels, has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced 2 million and helped spawn a devastating cholera epidemic — and yet the front lines have hardly moved.