Al Mukalla: Under the cover of intense air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni government forces have seized control from Al Houthi fighters of a strategic road that links the western port city of Hodeida with Taiz city, local army commanders and state-run media outlets said on Tuesday.
Hundreds of government troops and resistance fighters on Monday attacked Al Houthis in an area between Taiz’s Mokha district and Hodeida, and managed to take control of a number of villages in Al Hameli region, Colonel Abdullah Al Bahar, the deputy speaker of the Supreme Military Council in Taiz, told Gulf News on Tuesday.
“The national army troops have set up a checkpoint on the road and can interrupt military supplies that come to Al Houthis in Taiz from Hodeida,” Al Bahar said, adding the Al Houthi group also used to transport fighters from western areas to Taiz through that road.
During the fighting, which was still raging, government forces killed at least ten Al Houthis and captured eight while the coalition’s fighter jets destroyed Al Houthi armed vehicles and targeted their gatherings on the battlefield.
“Precise air strikes by coalition’s fighter jets and helicopters smoothed the way for government forces to advance.” Al Bahar said.
Army commanders say government forces had full control of the entire coastal region in Taiz province, and were now closing in on the last holdouts in Mokha and Al Wazyia districts.
Al Bahar said army troops and tribesmen stormed a number of villages east of Mokha town after heavy clashes with Al Houthis.
“We seek to drive Al Houthis from the remaining pockets of lands under their control in Mokha district. This will help ease military pressure on government forces in Taiz city.”
Local fighters posted graphic photos of dead Al Houthi fighters left behind after the fighting. On Tuesday, government forces also stormed a village in Taiz’s Salo district, local army commanders said. The assault began in the morning when government forces shelled Al Houthi military positions in Al Sayar village, forcing rebels into fleeing to neighbouring hilly villages.
In Taiz Mokha district, Al Bahar said government forces attacked Khalid Bin Waleed military camp from three directions, in a bid to drive hiding rebels from the strategic camp that supplies those rebels on Taiz’s fronts with arms.
The Ministry of Defence official news site, 26sepnews.net, said coalition fighter jets carried out more than 30 sorties, hitting Al Houthi fighters inside the camp and causing deaths and material damage.