A Yemeni tribesman of the Popular Resistance Committee, supporting pro-government forces, fires a weapon as a fellow tribesman rescues the body of a comrade in Taiz on Monday. Image Credit: AFP

Al Mukalla: A spokesperson for Yemen government loyalists in the war-torn city of Taiz said on Tuesday that 50 people have been killed in fierce clashes between his forces and Al Houthis on the eastern and western outskirts.

Colonel Mansour Al Hassani told Gulf News that the fighting erupted on Sunday and Monday when Al Houthis assaulted the air defence brigade controlled by the government forces on the western edges of the city. He added that 41 Al Houthis and nine government forces were killed and dozens injured on both sides and the government forces mounted a counterattack and managed to recapture the base from Al Houthis.

“We kicked them out of the brigade and killed 35 of their fighters.” Another six Al Houthis were killed in heavy clashes near the presidential palace.

“It was a back-breaking blow to Al Houthis who had amassed their forces outside the city for ten days to storm the brigade. We retrieved bodies of their fighters and took them to hospitals.” Al Hassani said.

Residents told Gulf News on Tuesday that the fierce fighting subsided on Monday night after Al Houthis pulled out of the area. Medics reported receiving several deaths and many injured people.

Sadeq Al Shoja’a, the head of the field hospital inside the government-controlled areas of the city, told Gulf News that his hospital received four bodies of fighters and a civilian. “The civilian was gunned down by Al Houthi sniper the moment he left his house last night,” Al Shoja’a said.

For more than a year, fighting focused on the edges of the country’s third largest city as the rebel forces have failed to advance towards the downtown which is under the control of army units and tribesmen loyal to the internationally recognised president.

Similarly, fighting broke out in Marib when the government forces pushed back Al Houthis’ assault in Nerwah district, the rebels’ last remaining enclave in the province. The province hosts thousands of government and Saudi-led coalition forces that reinforce major battlefields in the neighbouring Jawf and Sana’a provinces with men and arms.

In the south, a soldier was killed and several others injured when an IED blast ripped through their armed vehicles in the city of Lawder in Abyan province.

Al Qaida has suffered fatal defeats since April when the government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, pushed them out of their major strongholds in South Yemen, including Hadramout’s Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth largest city.