Yemeni forces seize new area west of Taiz

20 Al Houthis killed or injured in coalition strikes and clashes with government troops

Al Mukalla: Yemeni government forces have seized control of a number of locations, west of the southern city of Taiz, building up on a series of victories against the Iran-backed Al Houthis over the past three weeks.

Yemen’s Defence Ministry said as many as 20 Al Houthis were killed or injured in air strikes and heavy clashes with government forces who seized several locations overlooking Al Aresh region in the Mouza district.

Military pressure against Al Houthis in Taiz and neighbouring Hodeida provinces has escalated since April when thousands of army soldiers, led by General Tareq Mohammad Abdullah Saleh, launched an offensive against Al Houthi-held areas east of the Red Sea town of Mokha in the Taiz province.

The offensive was aimed at expelling pockets of Al Houthi militants from plains and mountainous areas that overlook government-controlled regions along the country’s coastline in Hodeida and Taiz. Tareq’s forces are pushing to seize control of a junction on the main road that connects Taiz city in the east with the port city of Hodeida in the west. In the early days of the offensive, Tareq’s forces seized strategic mountains, including Al Bareh Triangle region and other locations as they push towards Al Bareh town.

The Defence Ministry also said fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition struck Al Houthi gatherings and armoured vehicles, killing a number of militants and destroying combat vehicles. Similar heavy fighting broke out on Saturday east of Hays town in the province of Hodeida as government forces tried to break Al Houthi defences outside Al Jarrahi town.

The current military operations in the province of Hodeida are part of a major offensive that began early last year, aimed at protecting international maritime navigation in the Red Sea from Al Houthi attacks and depriving Al Houthis of ports that have long served as entry points for arms smuggled in from Iran.

Meanwhile, in the province of Saada, Al Houthis’ main bastion, government forces advanced against Al Houthis on Bouqa front, east of Saada, as other loyalists fought their way into areas inside Saada. The Defence Ministry said Al Houthis lost control of Al Manga’ar mountain, Al Ramlia hill and other locations west of Bouqa market after heavy clashes with government forces. The gains came after government forces backed by Saudi-led coalition fighter jets launched an attack on Friday on Al Houthi-controlled areas in Ketaf district.

Yemeni government forces have made significant gains in Saada since the beginning of this year after opening new fronts that divided Al Houthis’ heartland and effectively disrupted military supplies to and from Saada.

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