ADEN, Forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally-backed government militarily advanced on Thursday and seized a Red Sea district from the Shiite Houthi rebels in the western port city of Hodeidah, an army commander said.
The government forces covered by airstrikes from the Saudi-led warplanes entered the Khokha district on the Red Sea coast, 122km south of Hodeidah province for the first time since the eruption of the war in the country.
According to the army commander, who declined to be named, warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition heavily backed the anti-Houthi forces during their advancement on the ground and launched a series of airstrikes on the rebels’ locations.
The source said that more than 31 fighters of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias were caught by the government forces, and 20 others were killed during the ongoing military offensive in Khokha district.
Fighters of the anti-Houthi southern resistance were involved in the all-out military campaign in Khokha in addition to the joining of two battalions of the Republican Guard Forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was killed by Houthis on Monday.
Yemeni activists posted several videos and pictures on social media and claimed that the pro-government forces managed to take control of Khokha Thursday morning.
A military expert told Xinhua that the government forces are apparently determined to liberate all the areas of the strategic port province of Hodeidah from the control of the Houthi militias in the next days.
In recent days, the Houthi rebels are facing a huge pressure after losing their powerful ally Saleh. Saleh’s forces will no longer engage in battles with Houthis, but they will be part of the Saudi-backed Yemeni troops.
Three days ago, Yemen’s Saudi-backed President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered the newly-recruited armed forces to prepare a military plan and advance into the Houthi-controlled capital of Sanaa.
Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr announced that President Hadi will issue a general pardon to all those who participated in the Houthis and then cut their ties.
A number of battalions of the elite Republican Guard Forces started to join with Saudi-backed government forces and vowed to engage in the fighting against Houthis to take revenge for their late leader Saleh.
Ferocious street fightings took place between the two former allies in Yemen, the Houthis and the forces of Saleh, killing and injuring hundreds of people in Sanaa.
The Houthis declared victory after killing Saleh along with a number of high-ranking politicians of his party (the General People’s Congress GPC) in addition to arresting hundreds of commanders allied with Saleh.
The new round of fighting caused an aggravation of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Arab country.
Around 23 million out of 27 million Yemenis now live in the Houthi-run northern regions. Many fear that the fighting result in massive civilian casualties in Sanaa.
Yemen, which is also plagued by a severe cholera epidemic, is now coping with the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe as more than two thirds of the population need humanitarian assistance, the UN says.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK