Three Al Houthi militiamen captured by Yemeni government forces in Hajja. Image Credit: Supplied

Al Mukalla: A military delegation from the Saudi-led coalition paid a visit to battlefields in the southern province of Taiz to assess the progress of current military operations, a Yemeni military officer who saw the delegation told Gulf News on Monday.

Fighting has intensified over the past couple of weeks when government forces escalated assaults on Al Houthi-held districts in Taiz, Yemen’s second city that has fought off Al Houthi siege and shelling for more than three years. The delegation, composed of high-ranking military officers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, toured different battlefields in southern Taiz where they met with their Yemeni counterparts battling Al Houthis with the coalition’s air support.

“They came here to listen directly to our needs. We told them we are in need of more logistics and arms,” the Yemeni officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief reporters. “We have surplus of fighters in Taiz.”

In the southern city, government forces recently launched an offensive against Al Houthi-controlled Al Rahidah, the second most important city in Taiz province, from three directions. Local commanders say loyalists were stationed on the edges of the town and they paused their offensive in the area to get more supplies and allow military sappers to defuse landmines planted by the defeated Al Houthis.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Hajja, Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni government forces liberated some districts of Medi, killing, wounding and arresting dozens of Al Houthi militants who were sheltering inside houses in the deserted city. A video posted by Yemen’s Minister of Defence showed the coalition’s tanks and armoured personnel carriers fire at Al Houthi-held districts in Medi.

Backed by the coalition fighter jets, government forces have seized most areas in Medi, including its famous seaport, which has long served as an entry point for smuggling arms to Al Houthis.

Heavy fighting broke out over the past two days in Serwah district in the province of Marib as pro-government forces launched a fresh push on Al Houthi-controlled areas in the district.

Yemen’s Ministry of Defence did not talk about big gains on the battlefield, but said senior army commanders are leading the offensive. Serwah is the last urban Marib enclave under Al Houthi control.

Yemen’s army has also said as many as 12 Al Houthis were killed on Sunday and Monday in fierce fighting along rugged areas in Nehim district, just outside of Al Houthi-held capital Sana’a.