Yemeni late leader’s nephew leads military op on Houthi

By Murad al-Arifi

SANAA (AA) – The Yemeni forces commanded by the nephew of Yemen’s late leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and backed by the UAE carried out its first military operation against the Yemeni Houthi militia in western Taiz province on Thursday.

The forces, named National Resistance, are commanded by Tariq Saleh and does not recognize the legitimacy of the current Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

A military source from the National Resistance, who requested anonymity, told Anadolu Agency the forces advanced to the Mowazzie Directorate in western Taiz province and fought the first battle against the Houtis.

The source pointed out that the military operation began at early hours of Thursday with the support of Apache helicopters, belonging to the UAE.

The source did not give further details about the nature of the clashes between the two sides.

Meanwhile, the UAE official news agency WAM reported: “The Yemeni National Resistance Forces, led by Staff Brigadier-General Tarek Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, today [Thursday] launched a large-scale military operation on Yemen's Red Sea Coast in the direction of Mocha and Al Barah Area […] to liberate new areas from the grip of the Iran-backed Houthi militias.”

For its part, the pro-Yemeni government Abu al-Abbas Brigades announced in a statement that it has taken control of a number of sites and villages in the Al Kadha area, which is located in western Taiz on the Red Sea Coast of Yemen.

The statement read that a number of Houthi elements have been killed and wounded during clashes with them, without specifying the numbers.

– Former president's assassination

In December, local media claimed that Tariq had been killed — alongside his uncle, the former president — by Houthi militiamen south of capital Sanaa.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, who served as Yemen’s president from 1990 to 2012, had earlier been considered an ally of the Houthis but had appeared to have had a falling out with the group shortly before the latter kills him in December.

The UAE is a leading member of a Saudi-led military coalition cobbled together in 2015 to fight the Houthis, who had overrun much of Yemen — including capital Sanaa — one year earlier.

Yemen has been racked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its 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.

The following year, UN-sponsored peace talks held in Kuwait failed to produce any tangible breakthroughs.

The ongoing violence has devastated basic services, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation in Yemen as one of “the world’s worst humanitarian disasters in modern times”.

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Violence kills 4 government troops in western Yemen

By Fuad Massad and Murad al-Arifi

ADEN, Yemen (AA) – Four government troops were killed in a landmine explosion and clashes in western Yemen on Saturday, according to military sources.

The landmine exploded as a military vehicle was passing in Al-Jadid district in the port city of Mocha, a military source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.

“Three soldiers were killed and seven others injured in the attack,” the source said.

Another military source said a senior army commander was killed in clashes with Houthi rebels in Jabal al-Huza in the city.

Backed by Saudi-led warplanes, Yemeni government forces captured Mocha city from Houthis in late January.

Yemen fell into civil war in 2014, when Houthi rebels and allied forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.

Houthi attack kills top army commander in W. Yemen

By Murad al-Erifi

TAIZ, Yemen (AA) – A senior government commander was killed by a Houthi rocket attack in western Yemen on Saturday, according to a local military source.

Colonel Saleh al-Sobeihi was killed along with four other army officers after a Houthi rocket hit their vehicle east of Mocha port city, the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

Al-Sobeihi is the third senior military commander to have been killed in Houthi attacks since January.

Backed by Saudi-led warplanes, Yemeni government forces captured Mocha city in late January.

Yemen fell into civil war in 2014, when Houthi rebels and allied forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.

Top government commander killed in Yemen

By Mohammed al-Samei

TAIZ, Yemen (AA) – A top government army commander was killed Wednesday in clashes with Houthi rebels south-west of Yemen, according to a Yemeni military source.

General Ahmed Saif al-Yafei, the deputy chief of general staff of the Yemeni armed forces, was killed in battles between his forces and Houthi rebels on the outskirts of the port city of Mocha, the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

“The clashes were still raging on between the two sides,” he said, declining to give further details.

The Yemeni army has yet to confirm the claim.

Backed by Saudi-led warplanes, Yemeni government forces captured Mocha a few days ago from Houthi rebels.

Yemen fell into civil war in 2014, when the Houthis and allied forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.

Thousands displaced in Yemen’s Port Mocha: Local source

By Murad al-Arifi

TAIZ, Yemen (AA) – Thousands of families from Yemen’s port city of Mocha and its outskirts have been displaced by recent fighting between pro-government forces and the Shia Houthi militia, according to a local activist.

“More than 3,000 families from Mocha now face poverty, hunger and disease,” Ahmed Mokaiber, a Mocha-based activist and journalist, told Anadolu Agency on Friday.

“They are living in extremely difficult circumstances,” he said. “The ongoing conflict has only aggravated their suffering.”

Most basic services in the port city, he added, including the local telephone network, had been rendered inoperable by the recent fighting.

“Residents remain cut off from the outside world,” Mokaiber lamented. “The war has prevented many people from returning to their villages.”

He called on the Yemeni government and international aid organizations to send urgent humanitarian relief to help Mocha’s struggling civilian population.

He also urged the government to accelerate efforts to remove landmines and unexploded ordnance from the area before displaced persons return to their homes.

In a Monday statement, the World Health Organization warned that families who had recently fled Mocha to Yemen’s nearby city of Hudeidah faced rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

Earlier this year, pro-government forces — backed by a Saudi-led air coalition — wrested control of the port city from the Houthis and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Pro-govt forces declare curfew in Yemeni port city

By Murad al-Arifi

TAIZ, Yemen (AA) – Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi late Wednesday declared a nighttime curfew in the port city of Mocha, which they captured this week from the Shia Houthi militia.

Omar Dablah, a pro-government military commander, said via Facebook that the curfew would come into effect on Thursday night.

He did not specify, however, exactly what time it would begin or exactly how long it would last.

It was not possible to obtain immediate comment from the Yemeni army regarding the reported curfew.

A pro-Hadi military source told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that pro-government forces had decisively captured Mocha, a strategic port city situated on Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

The development follows one month of fighting during which Houthi militiamen and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had attempted to maintain their hold on the strategic city.

Early last month, Yemeni government forces — with the help of a Saudi-led military coalition — began a campaign to recapture Houthi and pro-Saleh positions in Aden and Taiz (located southeast and northeast of Mocha respectively).

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when the Shia Houthi militia group and pro-Saleh forces overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.

Yemen pro-govt forces take strategic port city: Sources

By Murad al-Arifi

TAIZ, Yemen (AA) – Yemeni pro-government forces on Wednesday decisively captured the Red Sea port city of Mocha, according to a military source and eyewitnesses.

The development follows one month of fighting during which Houthi militiamen and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had attempted to maintain their hold on the strategic city.

Government troops are now deployed across Mocha, local eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency, adding that the streets of the city were strewn with slain Houthi fighters.

“After failing to receive reinforcements, the Houthis withdrew from the city to the Yakhtal area [some 10 kilometers north of Mocha],” Bilal al-Saqqaf, a commander of the pro-government “popular resistance forces”, told Anadolu Agency.

“Pro-government forces have entirely retaken the city and are now in the process of securing its streets and neighborhoods,” he said.

Early last month, Yemeni government forces — with the help of a Saudi-led military coalition — began a campaign to recapture Houthi and pro-Saleh positions in the southern province of Aden and the city of Taiz.

Yemen has been wracked by chaos since 2014, when the Shia Houthi militia group and pro-Saleh forces overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.

Thousands trapped in Yemen port city, Red Cross warns

By Mohamed al-Samei and Murad al-Erifi

SANAA, Yemen (AA) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has voiced concern over civilians trapped in Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Mocha, the scene of fierce fighting between pro-government forces and Shia Houthi rebels.

“The ICRC is seriously concerned about civilians trapped in the crossfire,” the organization tweeted Wednesday.

It went on to urge Yemen’s warring camps to “respect the rules of war and work to safeguard civilians”.

A source near Mocha told Anadolu Agency that intense clashes were still underway in the city’s Al-Jaadi and Al-Amoudi districts amid attempts by pro-government forces to decisively establish control over the city.

The source, speaking anonymously due to security concerns, said tit-for-tat shelling between the two sides had destroyed a number of homes in the city and ignited a fire in its central market.

Mocha has been the scene of fierce fighting for weeks after pro-government forces advanced on the city.

While Houthi militiamen remain in control of several parts of the city, Mocha’s main entrances are now held by pro-government forces.

Earlier this month, Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said between 20,000 and 30,000 people — almost one third of the city’s population — remain trapped in Mocha and “require immediate protection and relief assistance”.

Yemen fell into civil war in 2014 after the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing members of the Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

The following year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a major air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s embattled government.

Pro-govt forces take Yemen’s port city of Mocha: Source

By Murad al-Arifi

TAIZ, Yemen (AA) – Pro-government forces on Tuesday captured several parts of the strategic city of Mocha on Yemen’s western Red Sea coast following pitched battles with Shia Houthi militiamen, according to a pro-government source.

“Pro-government forces attacked the Houthis and their allies [in Mocha] from different directions towards the city center,” pro-government field commander Bilal al-Saqqaf told Anadolu Agency.

“Our forces managed to capture the city’s port, the Old City, a public road, and several residential districts,” he said, adding: “The city is now under our control.”

“At least 30 Houthi fighters surrendered, while dozens of others were killed or injured in the fighting,” al-Saqqaf asserted.

The Houthi leadership, for its part, has yet to comment on the commander’s assertions.

Yemen has been wracked by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Shia Houthi militia group — along with forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh — overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.