Yemen army liberates Taiz presidential palace

Government forces also advance against Al Houthis in Nehim district just outside of Sana’a

Gulf News

Al Mukalla: A top Yemeni army commander loyal to the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on Wednesday that his forces have liberated the presidential palace in Taiz and are “on the verge of” liberating a new military camp in the city after fierce clashes with Iran-backed Al Houthi fighters.

Brigadier General Sadeq Sarhan, the commander of Brigade 22 in Taiz, said that government forces had gained complete control of the presidential palace after driving the rebels from some buildings that had remained under their control for days. The Ministry of Defence’s official news site, 26sepnews.net, quoted Sarhan as saying that army troops and allied resistance fighters are preparing to storm the Special Security Forces camp in Taiz, adding that his forces would then head to Al Houban district on the eastern edges of the city to cut off the route for Al Houthi reinforcements from Sana’a to Taiz.

Earlier this month, pro-government forces staged an assault on Al Houthi-held military sites in the eastern part of the city in a bid to fully break Al Houthis’ two-year siege that has brought the densely populated city to the brink of starvation.

The advancing government forces seized control of Al Tashrefat military camp, besieged the Special Security Forces camp, took control of several other military facilities and finally stormed the presidential palace.

Months of fighting and heavy air strikes have reduced the large presidential palace to ruins, according to local journalists who visited the site.

Sarhan said that the rebels launched many counterattacks against government forces in the presidential palace and other locations.

Residents complained that the rebel forces resorted to heavily shelling residential areas in the city’s downtown areas, which are under the control of government forces, after suffering heavy defeats on the ground.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed and thousands injured in heavy fighting or in Al Houthi shelling, according to local and international right groups.

Meanwhile in the Nehim district of Sana’a, government forces announced they had made gains against Al Houthi fighters in the district’s rugged mountains supported by heavy air support from coalition fighter jets.

In the port city of Mukalla, the capital of the south-eastern province of Hadramout, the 2nd Military Region said that army troops had captured three Al Qaida terrorists who staged an assault against a military post in the district of Dawan on Monday and are still hunting for others involved in the attack.

A soldier was killed and two injured in the attack, which was repulsed, according to the army’s statement.

The army has recently deployed a brigade in Dawan to prevent the militants from regrouping in Hadramout’s rural areas.

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