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Coalition-backed Yemen forces recapture Marib in setback for Houthi rebels

  • 26 Jan 2022

Fighting also raged between Yemen's government forces and the Houthis elsewhere including in the provinces of Jawf and Taiz, military officials say.

The Giants posted footage purportedly showing their forces roaming through what they said was the centre of Harib. ( AFP )

Forces of Yemen’s internationally recognised government and their United Arab Emirates-backed allies have swept through a strategic central province, forcing Houthi rebels out of its second largest district.

Government forces and the Giants retook the district of Harib and its centre south of Marib city on Wednesday after nearly two weeks of fighting, pushing their way to the nearby district of Juba, said Brig Abdou Megali, a military spokesperson. 

The Houthis had taken the two districts last year, part of their offensive on Marib.

Fighting also raged between government forces and the Houthis elsewhere including in the provinces of Jawf and Taiz, he added.

The Giants posted footage purportedly showing their forces roaming through what they said was the centre of Harib. 

Other footage showed fighters on armoured vehicles speeding in what they said were mountainous areas overlooking the district.

Two other military officials from inside the coalition also said the district had been taken. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media.

READ MORE: Yemen's Houthi rebels 'lose' Harib district to UAE-backed militia

Battlefield setbacks

The development in Marib province is another setback for the Iranian-backed Houthis, who for a year attempted to take control of the oil-rich province. 

Their offensive crumbled when the UAE-backed Giants Brigades helped reclaim the nearby Shabwa province earlier this month before advancing in Marib under air cover from the Saudi-led coalition.

In a decree for local authorities, Marib’s provincial governor Sheikh Sultan al Aradah ordered the restoration of all services in the district, which he said the Houthis disrupted when they took it in September.

Houthi spokespersons did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The recent escalation of ground fighting has coincided with intense Houthi cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as heavy coalition air strikes on the rebel-held Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The Houthi military media reported dozens of coalition air strikes on Sanaa and elsewhere in Yemen over the past 24 hours. The rebels said there were at least 20 air strikes overnight on Sanaa alone.

The ongoing battlefield setbacks prompted Brig Yahai Sarei, a Houthi military spokesperson, to threaten further attacks on the UAE.

READ MORE: Houthi ballistic missiles intercepted in UAE, Saudi Arabia

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