Yemeni Forces Continue to Gain Ground in Ma’rib Battle
- March, 07, 2021 - 14:10
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Yemeni troops and allied Popular Committees fighters are closing in on the strategic central city of Ma’rib for a key battle against Saudi-led militants loyal to former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and their Takfiri allies.
Local media outlets reported that the Yemeni forces are now only seven kilometers from Ma’rib, the last stronghold of pro-Hadi forces in northern Yemen, the loss of which would mean the defeat of the Saudi-backed regime.
Over the past few weeks, Ma’rib has been the scene of large-scale operations by Yemeni troops and allied Popular Committees fighters, who are pushing against Saudi-sponsored pro-Hadi militants.
A Yemeni military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said armed units fighting around Ma’rib have tightened the noose around the Saudi-led forces and continue to gain ground.
Medical sources said scores of militants were killed and injured during clashes on Friday. Hadi sources confirmed that 32 of their fighters had been killed in fighting around Ma’rib governorate over a single day.
Reports said Moin al-Wali, a commander of the al-Saqour (Falcons) brigade, was killed. Colonel Abdullah Mohammed al-Hamza, a pro-Hadi commander on the al-Kassara front, was also among the casualties.
Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen television said Yemeni forces had liberated several strategic heights in the northwest of the province after intense fighting.
They wrested control of Hama Dhiab and al-Nadhoud hills from the Saudi-led forces, which include Hadi loyalists and militants affiliated with the Salafist Islah party.
Main clashes in recent days have centered around Kassara and al-Moshaja areas, and battles are still going on in those regions.
Meanwhile, Saudi warplanes have stepped up their airstrikes, bombing various regions in the province in regular intervals.
They have carried out repeated air raids against the Sirwah district, and pounded Medghal and Mahliyah districts.
Local sources said several residential buildings as well as private properties had been badly damaged in the airstrikes.
Sirwah district hosts around 30,000 people displaced in harsh conditions as a result of earlier fighting, and the UN has repeatedly warned in recent weeks of a humanitarian crisis for civilians because of the current battles.
According to the UN, more than 8,000 people have been newly displaced in and around Sirwah since early February, many of them fleeing existing displacement camps.
The Foreign ministry of Yemen's National Salvation Government has criticized recent remarks by UN officials about Ma’rib clashes, demanding concrete measures be taken to assuage the suffering of the Yemeni people.
“There doesn’t seem to be any logic in such statements as they have questioned Sana’a’s interest in peace, and ignored its natural and legitimate right to self-defense," the ministry said in a statement Saturday.
"The UN and the international community have thus far exclusively focused on Ma’rib clashes, and have completely ignored battles on other fronts,” it added.
The ministry also expressed deep regret over the selective approach being taken toward the Yemen crisis, stressing that it will not pave the way for a complete end of the conflict.
“Ma’rib is one of the major fronts against the (Saudi-led) aggression on Yemen. Over the past years, it has witnessed the presence of occupying foreign forces. Ma’rib has been the hotbed of the most terrorist activities, which have basically targeted its local residents and the Yemeni nation at large,” the statement said.
It also called for an end to a Saudi-led blockade, which has led to the closure of Sana'a airport and arbitrary detention of Yemen-bound fuel ships.
Saudi Arabia’s television news networks reported that eight armed drones launched by Yemeni forces had been shot down Saturday.
Saudi air defenses detected several drones launched from Yemen, the reports said, including three fired towards Saudi Arabia.
There was no immediate reaction from Yemeni officials to the claim.
Over the past few days, Yemeni army troops and allied fighters from Popular Committees have targeted Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport and King Khalid Air Base with drone and missile attacks in retaliation for the kingdom's bombings.