Houthis seize provincal capital near Saudi border

Houthis take control al Hazm, capital of large desert province near Saudi border

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi forces and their army allies on Sunday seized the control of al Hazm, the capital of a large desert province of al Jawf in northwestern near Saudi Arabia.

The seize came just after peace talks in Geneva on Monday.

A tribal source in al Hazm told Reuters "The Houthi forces and those loyal to the former president spread out in the city and around government buildings.’’

Saudi Arabia has been leading air strikes against the Houthi rebels and armed tribesmen since the late March.

Elsewhere, 15 Houthi militants and two fighters loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh were killed in eastern province of Marib, an oil and natural-gas-rich province.

“That fierce clashes took place after Houthi fighters had snuck into al-Mashgah area which is controlled by the resistance,’’ a commander of the pro-Hadi Popular Resistance forces told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

The Houthis ally with Yemen’s still powerful former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was deposed during the Arab spring revolutions in 2011, and his loyalists in the army.

The Houthis have taken over the capital Sanaa and swooped into several central provinces.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies started an aerial operation, dubbed “Decisive Storm” on March 26 to halt the Houthi advancement from Sanaa to Aden as they justified their involvement with the claim of “defending the legitimate government” of exiled President Abed Rabbou Mahsour Hadi.

The Saudi-led coalition has been accusing Iran of “irredentism” over Yemen through supporting the Houthi forces, hereby, spreading “aggressiveness” in the Gulf region, a claim whcich Iran denies arming the Houthis.

The UN reported that tens of thousands of people have been killed in war-torn Yemen and more than 100,000 people have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict.

TRTWorld and agencies