Pro-government forces on Tuesday captured key positions in Yemen’s south-central Shabwah province from the Shia Houthi militia and their allies, according to Yemeni military sources.
“The national army, along with [pro-government] popular resistance forces, managed to retake several positions in Shabwah from the Houthis and allied forces loyal to [former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah] Saleh,” Mutlaq Jawhar al-Maaroufi, a spokesman for the army’s 19th Infantry Brigade, told Anadolu Agency.
Al-Maaroufi said the operations had been launched — with air support from Saudi-led coalition gunships — along several axes from Shabwah’s oil-rich Usaylan directorate.
According to the spokesman, recaptured areas include Shabwah’s historical Hajr Kahlan area and the Saleem area situated on the road linking Usaylan to the city of Ataq (Shabwah’s provincial capital).
Al-Maaroufi went on to say that six army personnel had been killed in the fighting, while “dozens” of Houthi militants — he did not provide an exact number — had been neutralized.
Anadolu Agency was unable to obtain comment from the Houthi leadership or pro-Saleh forces regarding al-Maaroufi’s assertions.
Yemen has been racked by chaos since late 2014, when the Shia Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.
In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.
Earlier this year, the government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which thousands of Yemenis are believed to have been killed and an estimated 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.