ADEN, Yemen, Battles raging between Yemeni government forces and the Houthis continued in the country's southern province of al-Dhalea, leaving five soldiers and seven rebels killed, on Wednesday, a military official said.

The pro-government forces continued confronting the Houthi rebels, who insist on advancing towards al-Dhalea province, leaving five soldiers killed, following hours of fighting in the area, said the local military official.

Houthis desperately tried to advance further, to seize government-controlled sites in Qataba district, to the northwestern part of al-Dhalea, but faced fierce resistance from the army, the source said.

The armed forces, air-covered by air strikes from the Saudi-led coalition, lost five soldiers in the ongoing battle, he said.

He added that, the Houthis carried out artillery shelling against the government forces, after losing around seven of their rebel fighters in the same battles.

According to information gathered from military sources earlier in the day, scores of pro-government soldiers, backed by pick-ups equipped with heavy machine guns, arrived in Qataba and began confronting the Houthis.

UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said that he is deeply concerned about the ongoing escalation of conflict in Dhale, and urged all parties to exercise utmost restraint.

The UN envoy said that any military escalation risks a setback in the progress towards peace in Yemen.

Last month, scores of Houthi fighters launched a series of intense armed attacks on the positions of government forces and succeeded in seizing the district of Al Husha in the west of al-Dhalea.

The areas in the north and west of the government-controlled al-Dhalea have been witnessing continuous fighting between government forces and Houthi fighters for four years.

Source: NAM News Network

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