Al Mukalla: Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition have seized control of new areas in the central province of Baydha after a fresh push aimed at expelling Iran-backed Al Houthis from their remaining enclaves in the district of Natea.
Yemen’s Defence Ministry has said government forces, backed by the coalition’s heavy airpower, stormed a number of locations such Dhahar Baref in the district of Natea, east of Baydha, after heavy clashes with Al Houthis who fled to neighbouring Al Malajem district.
The ministry said in a statement on its official news site that government forces killed more than 10 Al Houthis and captured 12 others as the coalition’s fighter jets hit military vehicles carrying rebels and arms, preventing Al Houthis from reinforcing their defeated forces.
In December, government forces began an offensive in Baydha as hundreds of troops rolled into the province after liberating Al Houthis’ last urban bastion in neighbouring Shabwa province for the first time since the beginning of Saudi-led coalition military operations in Yemen three years ago.
Meanwhile, in the northern province of Jawf, government forces seized two arms shipments destined for Al Houthis in the capital of Sana’a.
The Defence Ministry said security services at the Al Salmat checkpoint in Jawf stopped a truck carrying a stash of arms and ammunition en route to Al Houthi-held Sana’a.
At another Al Shabeka checkpoint, security forces seized a truck carrying a large amount of wireless military communication devices, remote controllers and signal emitters bound also for the militants.
Military commanders believe the military devices and ammunition were smuggled into the country through the sea and then transported on trucks through Marib.
To avoid government checkpoints in Marib, smugglers traverse a large desert between Hadramout, Marib and Jawf.
Last week, security authorities in Marib announced seizing a shipment of light arms destined for Al Houthis.
The Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni president accuse Iran of violating an arms embargo and smuggling weapons including ballistic missiles to Al Houthis.
The coalition takeover of most of Yemen’s seaports has disrupted the flow of arms to Al Houthis but military experts believe that some arms still sneak into Yemen either through Al Houthi-held Hodeidah city or through deserted coastal areas on the Arabian Sea.
Also, in Jawf, dozens of Al Houthi militants were killed on Sunday in clashes with government forces near a military base in Baret Al Anan district.
Yemeni government has managed to turn the tide of the war in its favour thanks to massive support from the Saudi-led coalition.