Yemeni loyalists recapture eastern province from Houthis

Saudi backed forces loyal to Yemen's exiled government announce recapture of Abyan Province in southern offensive against Houthis

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Saudi-backed forces loyal to Yemen's exiled government have announced the recapture of Abyan Province in a southern offensive that has seen key gains against the Iranian-backed Houthis.

Military officials loyal to exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced on Tuesday that loyalist forces have retaken Loder, the last town in Abyan that was under Houthi control.  

"Abyan is now completely free" of the Houthi militants, the officials said.

The latest gains came after seven pro-government activists were delivered in the loyalist controlled southern city of Aden in a swap supervised by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Advancing from Aden, on Sunday loyalist forces took Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan Province.

Backed by a Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes since March, pro-government forces have been battling for months to restore President Hadi, in exile in Riyadh, to power.

The head of the ICRC, Peter Maurer, said on Tuesday that Yemen is "crumbling" due to a deepening humanitarian crisis after months of civil war.

Maurer called for providing free access to life-saving humanitarian aids, water and medicines after a three-day visit to the Arabian Peninsula country, in which he urged the battling parties to work towards a solution to end the conflict.

"The humanitarian situation is nothing short of catastrophic. Every family in Yemen has been affected by this conflict ... The world needs to wake up to what is going on," Maurer said in a statement.

The international medical group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Monday that it has treated more than 10,000 people wounded in the war in Yemen.

More than 4,000 people have been killed and at least 1.3 million forced to flee their homes during the conflict.

War-torn Yemen has been suffering since March, when the Houthis seized the country's capital Sanaa and advanced towards Aden, forcing Hadi and his government to flee to Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led coalition began an aerial campaign against the Houthis on March 26 to restore Hadi’s government at his request.

"The compounded effects of intense fighting and import restrictions are having a dramatic impact on health care. Health facilities have been massively attacked as well as suffering collateral damage," said Maurer.

"Medicines can't get in so patient care is falling apart. Fuel shortages mean equipment doesn't work. This cannot go on. Yemen is crumbling. As a matter of urgency, there must be free movement of goods into and across the country ... Much more needs to be done."

According to the ICRC, the organisation has helped “supply water to more than two million people and provided food and other essentials for more than 100,000,” in Yemen since January. Over 250 people in Yemen are employed by ICRC, and the organisation has doubled its operational budget for the country to 56 million Swiss francs ($56.91 million) over the course of this year.

TRTWorld and agencies