Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 May 2019

Houthis suffer heavy losses as coalition jets help repel attack in Taez

The rebels failed to capture the 35th Brigade camp in the west of the city and were were forced to retreat about three kilometres.
A pro-government fighter salutes on top of a tank at a checkpoint on a road in Taez city. Ahmad Al Basha / AFP / April 11, 2016
A pro-government fighter salutes on top of a tank at a checkpoint on a road in Taez city. Ahmad Al Basha / AFP / April 11, 2016

ADEN // Dozens of Houthi rebels were killed on Friday as pro-government forces backed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes repelled an attack on an army base west of Taez city.

The rebels were forced to retreat about three kilometres from the 35th Brigade camp to the Ghora’ab area, which is under their control, though sporadic clashes continued, said Aref Al Samei, a field commander of the Popular Resistance militia on the western front of Taez.

“The Houthis fought desperately to advance in the western front, but the Saudi-led airstrikes targeted them heavily,” Mr Al Samei added.

“The Houthis have better weapons than us so we depend on the air strikes, otherwise they will take over the 35th Brigade [camp] and surrounding areas easily.”

He said some resistance fighters were also killed in the fighting, but did not provide specific numbers.

Fighting for control of Taez city has continued despite a ceasefire that came into effect in April as peace talks began in Kuwait. Much of that has been in the west of the city, but rebel attacks around the 35th Brigade base and surrounding areas over the past two days have been particularly heavy, Mr Al Samei said.

He said the base was the western key to the city, and its capture would allow the Houthis to easily take over western areas of Taez. Pro-government forces liberated the camp and surrounding areas from the rebels in mid March.

Another resistance commander said the rebels had also launched an unsuccessful attack in Taez province’s Al Wazeyah district, which borders Lahj province, on Friday.

“The Houthis thought the fighters of the Popular Resistance would return to their houses to prepare for Eid, but the fighters of the resistance do not leave their barricades all day,” said the commander, who asked not to be named.

He said the Houthis were receiving heavy reinforcements of weapons and fighters from rebel-held Hodeidah province west of Taez province.

“The Houthis do not believe in a peaceful solution, so I appeal to the Yemeni government to stop the peace talks and support the fighters in the different fronts,” the commander said.

The UN-mediated peace talks in Kuwait were suspended this week after failing to make progress and are to resume in the middle of the month.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Updated: July 1, 2016 04:00 AM

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