This image grab taken from a AFPTV video shows Yemeni pro-government forces firing a heavy machine gun at the south of Hodeida airport, in Yemen's Hodeida province on June 15, 2018. Image Credit: AFP

With the participation and support of UAE-armed forces, the joint Yemeni resistance forces have successfully gained control of large parts of Hodeida Airport.

The defenses of Houthi militias are falling apart reported WAM, amid the escape of a large number of militias, and the killing of dozens under a barrage of fire of the resistance in support of the UAE Armed Forces operating as part of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition Forces. 

Dozens of Houthi gunmen were also captured according to WAM, who were holed up behind the walls of Hodeidah airport and inside the buildings.

Troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition stormed the airport compound in Yemen's main port city Hodeida on Tuesday early morning after fierce battles.

"They have stormed the airport," a Yemeni military source told Reuters.

"This is the first time we hear the clashes so clearly. We can hear the sound of artillery and machinegun fire," a resident, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

Warplanes bombarded the airport earlier in the morning, the resident added.

The capture of the airport from the Houthis would be an important gain for the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have promised a quick assault on the city to avoid disrupting aid deliveries through the port.

The Western-backed alliance launched the onslaught on Hodeida seven days ago to try and turn the tables in a long-stalemated proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that has compounded instability across the Middle East.

The Joint Resistance Forces succeeded in taking full control of the village of Al Manzar, west of Hodeida airport - where the Houthi militias were holed up - in precise and decisive strikes that confused their ranks and exhausted their military capabilities.

The engineering teams affiliated with the Arab Coalition and the Joint Resistance began clearing Hodeida airport and its surrounding from mines and improvised explosive devices planted by the Houthis indiscriminately in attempts to delay the advance of troops inside the airport.

Escape Route

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Monday said that the coalition was taking a measured approach to minimise risks to civilians, and allowing the Houthis an escape route inland to their bastion in the capital Sanaa.

The Arab states say their aim is to seize the airport and port and to avoid street fights in the city centre.

Gargash said the coalition was counting on Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen who arrived in Sanaa on Saturday, to secure a Houthi agreement to leave Hodeidah.

A member of the Houthi politburo, Mohammad Al Bukhaiti, denied the talks centred on handing over the port city "because this request is unrealistic".

"During all his visits, the envoy has discussed a comprehensive political solution that addresses ... all the fronts and not just Hodeidah only," he told Reuters by telephone.

The coalition intervened in Yemen's war in 2015 to try and unseat the Houthis, restore the internationally recognised Yemeni government in exile and thwart what Riyadh and Abu Dhabi see as Iran's expansionary ambitions in the region.

Losing Hodeidah would deal a serious blow to the Houthis by cutting off their main supply line. It could also give an edge to the Western-backed military alliance which, despite superior weaponry and firepower, has failed to defeat the group in a war that has killed 10,000 people.

- With Inputs from Rueters