Pro-government fighters in a village under their control in the Al Sarari area of Taiz province. Heavy fighting has been continuing near Sana’a and in other places in Yemen. Image Credit: Reuters

Al Mukalla: Yemen government forces have intensified attacks on Al Houthis military sites outside Sana’a for the fourth day attempting to make a major headway towards the capital. Clashes flared up on Saturday between warring factions in Yemen shortly after they failed to reach a peaceful settlement to end months of bloody conflict.

Speaking to Gulf News from the front lines in Nehim district, Saleh Al Qutibi, a journalist embedded with the government forces, said on Tuesday that fighting did not stop since the government attacked Al Houthis fighters in Nehim early this week.

“These clashes are ferocious and continuing,” he said.

Since early last year, Al Houthis territories in Sana’a provinces began to shrink after government forces recaptured strategic locations in Nehim district and advanced towards the capital.

Local army commanders say their forces are less than 40 km from Al Houthis-controlled Sana’a.

Al Qutibi said the advancing government forces were taking new routes in order to evade landmines planted by Al Houthis.

The have already captured Al Manara and Al Joubail mountains,” he said.

At the same time, warplanes from the Saudi led coalition struck Al Houthis mobile or stable forces in Nehim district.

“Air strikes are greatly boosting our soldiers’ morale,” he said.

Dozens of Al Houthis fighters and others loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh and 14 government forces were killed in the clashes.

Seven rebel fighters were also captured, some belongong to the elite Republic Guards loyal to Saleh.

“Al Houthi militants who fled left behind the injured fighters to die,” Al Qutibi said.

Army Brigades 141 and 314 who have been trained in Marib province are engaged in the fighting outside of Sana’a.

On Tuesday, coalition warplanes carried out dozens of air strikes on Al Houthis sites in the capital, Hodeida and Taiz.

Internationally-recognised Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi assured his soldiers on Monday of “signs of victory”.

Hadi who was speaking by telephone to his senior commanders in Marib, hailed recent territorial gains on fronts including Sana’a.

Elsewhere, at least eight civilians were killed and several injured on Tuesday when a landmine blew up their car in the besieged city of Taiz.

Al Masder Online news site said that the car was full of women and children when it accidentally drove over the landmines.