The United Nations' special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has warned that the country is on the brink of civil war and accused all sides of contributing to the political and economic turmoil.
Yemen is slipping further into chaos as the Houthis, a Shia Muslim militia from the north, consolidate their grip on power after seizing the capital in September and sidelining the central government.
The fighters have been advancing into southern territories, confronting Sunni Muslim tribesmen, other groups and the local branch of Al-Qaeda.
"We believe the situation is very dangerous. Yemen is on the brink of civil war," Benomar said in an interview with television channels Al-Arabiya and al-Hadath late on Wednesday.
Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters seized an army base in southern Yemen and held soldiers prisoner on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the United States, Britain and France have closed their embassies in Sanaa, citing security concerns. In a statement Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa announced it was pulling its diplomats out of the country, citing "the risk that renewed violence would threaten Yemenis and the diplomatic community in Sanaa."
Benomar also said Yemen's economy was facing imminent collapse. He called for more dialogue to reach a peaceful settlement.
"They are all party to what has happened so far, they have all made mistakes and follies and sometimes groups resorted to violence to realize political aims."
Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia, is home to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), considered by the U.S. to be one of the global network's most dangerous arms. It has been linked to multiple attacks abroad, including last month's deadly assault on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Al Jazeera and Reuters