By Mohamed al-Samie
SANAA (AA) – The Yemeni army backed by a Saudi-led military coalition captured three strategic sites in Yemen’s southwestern Al-Bayda province on Tuesday following clashes with Shia Houthi militiamen, according to military officials.
“After fierce fighting in Al-Bayda’s Mujammim Directorate that continued until noon, army forces managed to capture the Laban, Sheab al-Theeb and Al-Faqarah districts,” Army Colonel Mosaad al-Salahi, who also serves as director-general of the adjacent Nati Directorate, told Anadolu Agency by phone.
According to al-Salahi, the three districts are of considerable strategic value as they overlook the nearby Camp Fadha, which is considered a key Houthi stronghold in the region.
The army’s latest advances, al-Salahi said, had received air cover from Saudi-led coalition warplanes, which targeted Houthi concentrations deployed in the area.
In a related development, coalition warplanes on Tuesday also carried out raids in Yemen’s southwestern Taiz province.
Army Colonel Hamid al-Khlidi told Anadolu Agency that coalition warplanes had conducted five separate airstrikes on Houthi positions in the Al-Kamb area of the Maqbana directorate.
The strikes, he said, had resulted in several Houthi causalities — he did not give an exact number — and the destruction of arms depots and military vehicles.
Anadolu Agency was unable to obtain immediate comment from Houthi spokesmen regarding the army officers’ claims.
Yemen has been wracked by violence and chaos since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as an Iranian proxy force — launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
UN-sponsored peace talks held in Kuwait City the following year failed to end the conflict.
The ongoing violence has devastated basic services in Yemen, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as one of “the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.