Yemeni gov't forces take suburbs of besieged Taiz from Houthis

Yemeni government forces take back areas of southwestern Taiz city besieged by Houthi militants for several months

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

People gather around a tank used by pro-government fighters in the Bir Basha neighborhood, after they took the area from Houthi fighters in Yemen's southwestern city of Taiz March 11, 2016.

Yemeni pro-government forces have taken crucial gains on Friday around the southwestern city of Taiz, which has been besieged by Iranian-backed Houthi militants for several months.

Government forces have taken control of the areas in the western and southern suburbs of the city, Governor Ali al-Maamari said.

They "reopened key roads that the Houthis had been blocking for nine months," said the governor, who currently lives in exile in Saudi Arabia.

He also emphasised that the forces should allow humanitarian and medical aid to be distributed to about 200,000 besieged residents in Yemen’s third largest city.

At least 57 people have been killed on Friday due to the exacerbation of fighting between government forces and militants, security forces said.

The total death toll included at least 37 Houthi militants, 14 pro-government fighters and also six civilians.

Earlier, dozens of military vehicles carried militants out of the western suburb of Taiz towards Hodeida city on the Red Sea, witnesses said.

Taiz is located between militant-held capital Sanaa and the southern port city Aden which pro-government forces have taken back from Houthi militants in July.

Last November, pro-government forces announced a major offensive to lift the blockage on the besieged city.

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi fled the country in March 2015. 

More than 6,100 people have died - half of them civilians - in the country, according to the United Nations figures.

TRTWorld and agencies