Recruits from the Yemeni counter-terrorism forces show their skills during a graduation ceremony on Sunday in the southern city of Aden. Image Credit: AFP

Al Mukalla: A tribal leader battling Al Houthis in their last stronghold in Yemen’s southern province of Shabwa said that the government troops have killed dozens of rebel forces and liberated new areas this week.

Nasser Rakan told Gulf News from the battlefield that forces loyal to the internationally-recognised president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi have pushed Iran-backed Al Houthis out of Al Alem, Al Saleem and Al Oukada regions in Shabwa’s Ouslan district and are now fighting their way towards Al Houthi-controlled Bayhan.

“The army troops and the resistance have cleared Al Houthis from major areas in Ouslan. I have seen the bodies of ten Al Houthi fighters in the valleys and mountains,” he said.

Under a heavy air support from the Saudi-led coalition, government forces launched an offensive on Tuesday to expel Al Houthis from their remaining strongholds in the province of Shabwa.

Rakan said that Saudi-led Arab coalition fighter jets targeted Al Houthi military sites and sniper positions on the mountains and destroyed their military reinforcements.

Hadi’s forces, trained and armed by the UAE, have taken control of major oilfields and an LNG export terminal in Balhaf.

In the city of Taiz, several people were killed this week in fierce clashes between the government forces and Al Houthis.

Local government supporters who document casualties of the ongoing battles in Taiz said clashes raged outside the presidential palace on the eastern edges of the city and other locations in the west, adding that the rebel forces shelled the densely populated Houban, Satteen, Khamseen, Al Roubyae and Hathran regions.

In the province of Baydha, local media reported on Thursday that suspected US drones killed four Al Qaida militants in Al Soma’a district. Al Masdar Online, an independent news site, said that the four militants were riding two motorbikes when the drones fired their missiles in a remote area called Amdhar, killing them in the spot.

US drones have killed dozens of Al Qaida militants across Yemen since early last year.

The US designates Yemen’s Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula as the most dangerous branch of the militant group in the world.

Hadi, meanwhile, returned on Thursday to the port city of Aden, the temporary base of his government, after visiting major oilfield in the province of Hadramout where he vowed to boost oil production.