- Saudi-backed Yemeni forces pushed the Houthis back in Bayhan Friday
- It was the last Houthi-held position in southern province of Shabwa
- Dozens of Houthis were reportedly killed or detained
- The town was taken by the rebels in 2015
Yemeni government forces have stormed Bayhan town, the Houthis' last urban bastion in the southern province of Shabwa, local government and military commanders said on Friday.
Backed by intensive air cover from the Saudi-led coalition, army troops and allied fighters seized control of most of Bayhan after taking complete control of the neighbouring Ouselan district, for the first time since the beginning of the the war.
“Dozens of Houthis have been either killed or held by the national army and the resistance fighters,” a local government official who requested anonymity told Gulf News by telephone.
Several "resistance fighters" were also killed in the fighting on Friday, he said.
Iran-backed Houthis have been in full control of Bayhan and Ouselan districts since the early days of their rapid expansion across Yemen in early 2015.
Government forces have tried many times to recapture Bayhan from the Houthis
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The official said that government forces succeeded on Friday morning in pushing the militants from strategic mountains in Ouselan district and quickly pushed toward Bayhan.
“Houthi forces crumbled in the face of the offensive by government forces. Many militants surrendered as others fled to the province of Baydha,” the official said.
Videos and photos posted on social media showed a line of armed vehicles rolling into Bayhan as soldiers flashed the victory sign.
Local commanders said that their forces would comb farms and houses for Houthi militants as experts would defuse hundreds of landmines planted by the defeated militants.
If Bayhan falls, government forces will be in full control of the important oil and gas rich province of Shabwa.
Meanwhile, on the Red Sea frontline, government forces pushed back an offensive by the Houthis aimed at recapturing the region of Khokha and other areas in the province of Hodeida.
Local army commanders said that the Houthis withdrew to their previous positions in Hays and Tehaita towns after many of their men were killed.
Last week Al Houthis suffered a major setback in the province of Hodeida after government forces took control of key cities.
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