Al Mukalla: Dozens of Al Houthis, including a senior field commander, have been killed in fierce clashes with government forces outside Yemen’s southern city of Taiz, Yemen’s Defence Ministry said.
Fighting broke out on Friday when a large number of Al Houthi militants started a counteroffensive against government forces in the mountainous Salo region, southern Taiz, in a bid to recapture key areas they lost in recent battles.
The ministry said the Al Houthi assault triggered a fierce battle with government forces, who managed to foil the attack and kill dozens of militants, including ‘Brigadier’ Mohammad Ali Abdul Haq, the commander of Al Houthis’ 201 Brigade in Taiz.
Local commanders said that heavy air support from Saudi-led coalition fighter jets enabled government forces to push back Al Houthis and foil their latest attempt to take control of Salo.
Last week, the Defence Ministry declared government forces had taken full of control Salo district after clashes with Al Houthis, who had held the area for almost a year. By liberating Salo, government troops cut off Al Houthis supply routes to battlefields in Southern Yemen, and protected a strategic road linking the city with Aden.
On the eastern edges of the city, government forces and Al Houthis traded mortar fire on Saturday as loyalists pushed to break the Al Houthis siege on the city. Taiz has seen the bloodiest clashes in Yemen’s war since early 2015, when local fighters and army troops took up arms to free their city from Al Houthi occupation. Despite relentless military assaults, Al Houthis have failed to storm the city’s centre and stationed on the edges from where they indiscriminately shell residential districts in downtown.
Meanwhile in Aden, the base of the internationally-recognised government, life has returned to normal and people returned to their jobs after the Saudi-led coalition brokered a truce between the government and the Southern Transitional Council. Both sides agreed to pull out their forces and engage in talks under the aegis of the coalition.
Fighting broke between government forces and those loyal to the STC when the latter set a deadline for Yemen’s president to dismiss his government or face mass protests in Aden. On Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition announced the end of the standoff in Aden as both sides agreed to adhere to the truce and return to their previous positions. Military envoys from UAE and Saudi Arabia have shuttled between military bases to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.