A supporter waves the UAE flag as Yemeni forces with the help of coalition forces liberate Dhobab. Image Credit: WAM

Al Mukalla: Yemeni forces have closed in on a major Al Houthi military camp in Al Omari region after liberating Dhobab from the rebels and fighters loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, an army commander has said.

Major General Fadhel Hassan, who is also the commander of Aden-based 4th Military Region, told Gulf News by telephone from the battlefield that government forces and allied resistance fighters completely ousted Al Houthi rebels from Dhobab and advanced deeply into Al Waziyia and Al Omeri regions in Taiz for the first time since early last year.

“We have completely pushed Al Houthis out of Dhobab and are advancing towards Al Omeri military camp,” he said.

Aimed at clearing the coastal areas in Taiz province from the Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels, government forces backed by Saudi-led coalition fighter jets launched Operation Golden Arrow on Friday and managed to advance dozens of kilometres into enemy-held territory bordering the Red Sea.

Army commanders say the operation aims to secure the strategic Bab Al Mandab Strait and cut arms supply routes to the rebels.

At least 30 Al Houthi rebels and fighters loyal to Saleh have been arrested.

“Most of the arrested fighters are from the Republican Guards. Our forces are fighting Al Houthis on the mountains of Al Omeri and Al Wazyia regions. We are determined to liberate from Al Houthis the entire coastal and other areas in Taiz.” Hassan said.

On Saturday, the army announced the death of Brigadier General Omar Saeed Al Subihi in Operation Golden Arrow.

Government forces now have their sights set on the port city of Mocha, where Al Houthi rebels get much of their weapons shipments from Iran.

Government forces last year captured the port city of Medi in the northern province of Hajja, preventing Al Houthis from smuggling arms through its seaport.

On Sunday, local media outlets reported that Yemeni army Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Al Maqdashi and senior army generals visited the government-controlled areas in Medi and Haradh districts in Hajja province.

In the north, Abdullah Al Ashref, a spokesperson for Jawf resistance, said on Sunday that the government forces foiled an attack by dozens of Al Houthis in the district of Metoun and the coalition’s warplanes destroyed their armoured vehicles and guns.