Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi has ordered a major assault on the country’s Red Sea coast against Houthi Ansarullah fighters and allied army forces, who have been defending the nation against a deadly Saudi offensive.
Yemeni military sources said Saturday that reinforcements have been deployed by the ex-government to the war-torn country’s Red Sea shoreline, which is mostly controlled by army troops and Ansarullah fighters, AFP reported.
The former government now aims to push the Houthis back “from the western coast and Bab al-Mandab [Strait],” a Yemeni source said.
The offensive aims to seize an area stretching from Dhubab District in the southwestern province of Tai’zz to al-Khukha District, located 90 kilometers (60 miles) northwards. The contingents use tank reinforcements, armored vehicles, and Katyusha rocket launchers, according to the report.
Meanwhile, reports say Ta’izz been the scene of fierce clashes between Yemeni armed forces and pro-Saudi since Saturday.
Saudi aircraft were also reported to have carried out as many as 13 strikes against residential buildings in Sanhan District in western Sana’a Province, causing considerable damage to civilian properties.
Separately, it was reported on Sunday that the Yemeni army and Ansarullah fighters had targeted gunboats belonging to the Saudi mercenaries off Dhubab.
The Houthis took control of state affairs in 2014 after Hadi resigned despite Ansarullah’s calls on him to review the decision. Hadi’s resignation created more chaos in a country already grappling with al-Qaeda terror threats.
A devoted Riyadh ally, Hadi then fled to the Saudi capital, before returning to the port city of Aden earlier this year.
In March 2015, the Saudi military launched a military campaign in Hadi’s support. The ongoing offensive has left thousands of Yemenis dead so far.
The new assault comes days after UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed traveled to Aden to discuss a new attempt to end the country’s conflict.
Sabanew.net website, affiliated with the former government, said Hadi had handed him a letter, reiterating the government’s rejection of a roadmap the envoy had presented in October.
The proposed peace roadmap gives the Houthis, who are in control of large swathes of the country, including the capital Sana’a, a share of the future government.
The plan also shrinks the president’s powers in exchange for the Houthis’ withdrawal from several major cities, including the capital, and the handover of their heavy weapons to a third party.
Hadi has said the plan “rewards” Ansarullah, calling the deal “a gateway to more suffering and war.”
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