Yemen gov’t forces take Al-Hudaydah’s southern entrance
Government forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition on Friday captured the southern entrance of Yemen’s strategic port city of Al-Hudaydah, a local military source has said, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
According to the source, army troops and pro-government paramilitary forces have taken the Al-Manzar and Al-Duwar areas -- both of which are situated near Al-Hudaydah’s southern entrance -- from Houthi rebels.
The military source, who spoke to Anadolu Agency anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to media, said that coalition warplanes had struck several Houthi positions before Yemeni troops moved into the area.
The same source went on to state that a “large number” of Houthi fighters -- he did not provide an exact number -- had been killed in the fighting, which, he said, remains ongoing.
Yemeni troops, the source continued, were now advancing on Al-Hudaydah’s international airport with a view to wresting it from Houthi fighters.
Anadolu Agency was unable to obtain immediate comment by Houthi spokesmen regarding the source’s assertions.
On Wednesday, Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition began a major operation aimed at retaking Al-Hudaydah -- and its strategic seaport -- from the Houthis, who captured it in late 2014.
Yemen’s internationally-recognized government and its Saudi-led allies accuse the Houthis of using the port to import weapons from Iran.
Last week, the UN warned that a major military assault on Al-Hudaydah by the Saudi-led coalition could adversely affect as many as 250,000 people.
“Humanitarian agencies in Yemen are deeply worried by the likely impact of a possible military assault on… Al-Hudaydah,” Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said in a statement last Friday.
Yemen has remained wracked 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 Sunni-Arab allies -- who accuse the Houthis of working for Shia Iran -- launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
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