ADEN, Yemen, Battles between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces and the Shiite Houthi gunmen, intensified over the control of a strategic military base in the country's south-west.

Local army commanders, in the country's coastal city of Mocha, told Xinhua by phone, saying, all hilltops overlooking the strategically important military base of Khalid-bin Walid were seized by the Saudi-backed government troops.

According to Yemeni military sources, the Houthi-controlled strategic military base is now surrounded by government troops from all sides, leaving Houthi fighters with no place to withdraw to.

However, the other army sources confirmed that, the advances against the Houthi fighters in their hideouts were slowed down, due to the large number of landmines planted in the area.

Officials close to the Shiite Houthi group dismissed the claim of making ground advances by the internationally-backed government troops, saying that, their forces pushed the Saudi-backed forces back, killing several soldiers in the fighting.

On Tuesday, Saudi-led aircraft mistakenly targeted a displaced persons' camp (IDP's) in Mawza' district, Taiz province, where the coalition-backed forces have been making a military operation and trying to make ground advances against Houthis in the area.

The United Nations on Friday, blamed the Saudi-led coalition for the air strikes that struck civilians in Taiz, saying, no military targets in the area were hit.

According to the UN human rights office, the strikes hit three families, who were staying in a makeshift straw house, after being displaced from their homes three months ago, by fighting.

The UN has sponsored peace talks between the warring factions several times, but the factions failed to reach common ground.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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