Al Mukalla: Government troops are now in control of 80 per cent of Yemen’s territory, two years after a Saudi-led Arab coalition entered the war, Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi said in an interview with the Saudi daily Al Riyadh published on Sunday.
The emboldened president said his forces would press on with the offensive on the Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels until they are forced to the negotiating table and honour previous commitments.
Hadi praised Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz for his “strategic” and “brave” decision to enter the war on March 26, 2015.
He also predicted that the Yemeni crisis would “soon” be over, but warned that there would be a heightened military escalation in the interim.
The internationally-recognised president said he shared the same concerns with the new US administration about Iran’s designs in the region.
“I think the new stance regarding Yemen is great,” he said.
“Not only does it reject Al Houthi influence, it also favours designating it as a terrorist group.”
Hadi, currently based in the Saudi capital, was forced to flee Sana’a in February 2015 after an Al Houthi coup installed an allied ruling council.
After escaping house arrest, he shifted government headquarters to Aden.
Al Houthis were marching towards the city but were stopped when the Saudi-led coalition began its air strike campaign and was able to blunt their advance.
The massive air power has since then tilted the war in Hadi’s favour.
Yemeni forces are making considerable progress along the western coast and outside Sana’a.
On Sunday, the state-run Saba news agency said government forces reached the edges of Hesi Salem region, north of the Red Sea town of Mokha after pushing Al Houthis out of the Al Zahari region.
The current offensive in western Yemen was launched in January when hundreds of coalition-backed forces marched from Aden towards strategic locations on Bab Al Mandab strait.
The Al Houthi-controlled city of Hodeidah is the final destination of the offensive.
Meanwhile in Taiz, residents said on Saturday a girl was killed by an Al Houthi sniper in the eastern part of the city where clashes between rebels and government forces have killed dozens.