Pro-government forces advance in central Yemeni province

Iran-backed Houthi rebels forced out of four districts in Yemen’s Ibb province as pro-government forces march towards capital Sanaa

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Southern Resistance fighters gather on a road leading to Yemen's Houthi-held southern province of Abyan

Pro-government forces in Yemen are continuing their advance towards the country’s capital Sanaa after reclaiming four districts in the central Ibb province from Houthi rebels on Monday.

The Yemeni government has been advancing north from the southern coastal city of Aden, which they reclaimed last month with the help of air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt are all part of the coalition which aims to defeat the Shiite Houthi rebels, who are allegedly backed by Iran.

Success in Aden allowed for the return of the several ministers of Yemeni government, after it had been forced into self-exile when Houthis overran the the city in March.

President Hadi and his government had previously been forced to relocate to Aden when Houthi rebels - who are also believed to be backed by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh - took control of the capital Sanaa in September.

However, with the latest advances, pro-government forces are now just 125 kilometres from the capital.

According to Al Arabiya, Yemeni Central Bank governor Mohamed Bin Hammam said Houthi rebels are retreating in several provinces and have declared a state of emergency in Sanaa.

Last week, senior Yemeni military commander Abdullah Subaihi predicted the capital will be within the control of pro-government forces within two weeks.

The offensive to retake the Ibb province comes two days after pro-government forces took control of Zinjibar, the capital of the southern Abyan province.

Tanks and other military equipment provided by the Saudi-led coalition were used by the pro-government forces as they advanced on the city from the north and south.

Pro-government forces also reportedly made significant gains in the southern Dalea province on Saturday.

Houthi rebels last week lost control of Al Anad Air Base, north of Aden, while fighting still continues for the control of Taiz.

The UN has declared the situation in Yemen to be a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale, after about 80 percent of the country’s population fell into dire need of humanitarian aid.

Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.


TRTWorld and agencies