Dozens of Al Houthis surrender in Taiz amid collapsing morale. Image Credit: Supplied

Al Mukalla: Dozens of Al Houthi militants have surrendered west of Yemen’s Taiz city over the last three days with government forces close to breaking the militia’s siege on the city, local army commanders said on Wednesday. As many as 30 Al Houthis surrendered on Tuesday to government forces after abandoning their posts in Jabal Habashy district on the western edges of Taiz, where government forces are making rapid gains in their push towards breaking Al Houthis’ three-year siege on Yemen’s third largest city, Abdul Basit Al Baher, a spokesperson for the Yemeni army in Taiz, told Gulf News.

Another 133 militants surrendered to the Giant Brigades forces after government force besieged their locations in Al Waziyah district west of Taiz.

“They turned in ammunition, machine guns and different kinds of arms. Their morale is crumbling,” Al Baher said, adding that government interrogators who questioned the militiamen said they were from different poverty-stricken areas in Ibb and Amran provinces and they joined Al Houthis for financial reasons.

“They cut off their salaries and forced them to join the battlefield to survive. We are trying to convince other Al Houthi militants in Jabal Habashy to lay down their arms,” Al Baher said, adding that government forces would break Al Houthis’s siege on Taiz after crushing a few pockets of resistance in Maqbanah and Jabal Habashy districts.

“Al Houthis are under siege after cutting off supply lines. After liberating the remaining areas, the road that links Taiz with Hodeida and the Red Sea areas will be opened,” Al Baher said.

Al Houthi defences in Taiz and Hodeida provinces began to collapse almost 10 days ago in the face of a joint ground offensive by Tehami Resistance, the Giant Brigades and the National Resistance led by Gen Tariq Mohammad Abdullah Saleh and backed by the UAE Armed Forces in Yemen.

Pro-government forces liberated two districts in Taiz and are now pushing deeper in Al Tuhayata district in Hodeida province as they advance towards the city of Hodeida, the main target of the offensive. Dozens of Al Houthi militants, including key field commanders, have been killed over the past several days in heavy clashes in both provinces.

Yemen’s defence ministry said fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition carried out air strikes against Al Houthi targets in Jawf, Hajja, Marib’s Serwah, Hodeida and Taiz.

One of the air strikes hit a gathering of Al Houthis in Al Malajem district in the province of Baydha, killing at least 10 militants and destroying military equipment. Thanks to massive air and military logistics support from the Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni government managed to reverse Al Houthi gains and seized control of almost 80 per cent of Yemen.