Al Mukalla: Clashes between Yemen government forces and Al Houthi fighters intensified outside rebel-held Sana’a as troops pushed to storm the first region in Arhab district, army commanders and allied media said.
The state-run Saba news agency said on Tuesday dozens of rebel fighters had been killed in fighting and government forces were battling Al Houthis on the outskirts of Bani Hakem village, Arhab district.
Government forces backed by massive air support from Saudi-led coalition fighter jets launched last week a major offensive in Nehim’s rugged mountain to break months of military stalemate outside Sana’a.
Loyalists have liberated a number of hilly positions.
Army commanders say, if current advances in Nehim continue, government forces would be able to shell Al Houthi military positions in Sana’a — including the city’s airport — from Arhab.
The Ministry of Defence said on its official news site, 26sepnews.net, that as many as 28 Al Houthi fighters were killed in the northern province of Hajja.
Twenty rebels were killed in heavy air strikes by coalition fighter jets on farms in the Haydan region’s Medi district.
The air strikes also destroyed armoured vehicles hidden on the farms.
Eight other rebels were killed in shelling by government forces in the port city of Medi.
In Shabwa, the defence ministry said on Tuesday government forces engaged in heavy battles with rebels, who launched an attack to recapture sites near Ben Ageel mountain in Ouselan district.
Al Houthi commander killed
In the southern city of Taiz several Al Houthi fighters, including a field commander called Usam Al Bourai, were killed in air strikes and fighting with government forces in Magbnah region.
Other forces battled Al Houthi fighting on the western and eastern outskirts of the city.
The ministry said coalition jets struck Al Houthi sites, in Zahari region and other locations on the Red Sea, to allow government forces on the ground to advance towards the port city of Hodeidah.
In the Saudi capital, Yemen president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on Monday any peace plan should be based on the GCC initiative, outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and UN Security Council resolution 2216, which demand that Al Houthis end their grab of power and disarm before discussing transfer of power to a new leader.
Hadi told two European diplomats that his government is still willing to strike a deal with rebels provided they honour previous agreements.
Al Houthis blamed for death of thousands
Nearly 38,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed or injured at the hands of Al Houthi militias and those allied to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh since the war began in 2014, Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights has said.
These numbers came as part of a report presented by the Yemeni Deputy Minister of Human Rights, Mohammad Askar, during a human rights council meeting in Geneva, discussing the situation in Yemen in the period between January 1, 2015 and January 31, 2017.
According to Askar, Al Houthi bombings in populated areas, villages, farmland and roads led to 673 civilian injuries and deaths, mostly women and children.
The report also shows that the militia used children to fuel their war and increase their numbers, recruiting more than 1,000 children under the age of 18, as well as recruiting female fighters.
According to the report, Al Houthi fighters destroyed more than 29,000 establishments, which include government buildings, schools, hospitals, water and electricity facilities, roads and bridges.
Nearly 26,000 private properties, including homes and residential buildings, markets, cars, farms and factories, were also destroyed.