A Yemeni military plane crash-landed at an air base in the south of the country early on Tuesday, killing nine passengers, including eight Syrian engineers, doctors and army officials told Reuters.
A Yemeni source spoke to Al Arabiya and put the death toll at four only.
A Yemeni engineer also died when the Russian-made Antonov plane crashed at the base in the southern province of Lahej. A local security official said a technical fault was likely the cause of the accident.
Lahej shares a border with Abyan province, where the Yemeni army is fighting to regain control of territory seized by suspected al-Qaeda militants during months of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Months of political upheaval have weakened central government control over whole swathes of the country.
Lahej and several southern and eastern provinces of Yemen have also become an operation zone for militants of an al-Qaeda branch believed to be taking advantage of a weakening central authority following nine months of nationwide protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, according to AFP.
Military officials have said that authorities in Sana’a have withdrawn military planes from the main Dailami air base, near Sana’a airport, to other bases due to nearby confrontations between Saleh forces and his opponents.
The elite Republican Guard, led by Saleh’s son Ahmed, has repeatedly clashed with anti-Saleh tribes in Arhab, north of the airport, while Saleh loyalists are frequently engaging in deadly confrontations in north Sana’a with dissident troops and tribes backing protests.
Despite domestic and international pressure, including a U.N. Security Council resolution last week urging Saleh to sign a deal to quit office, the veteran leader has refused to relinquish power.
Late on Monday, an Uzbek doctor was kidnapped in the northern province and tribal stronghold of Maarib.
A tribal source said the doctor had been kidnapped by tribesmen to put pressure on the government to release some jailed comrades.