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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Protecting Yemen: a mother's sacrifice 

Prime minister honours woman who lost five sons and her home in the battle for Taez city

Fighters from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, attend a graduation ceremony in Taez on January 17, 2018. Ahmad Al Basha / AFP
Fighters from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, attend a graduation ceremony in Taez on January 17, 2018. Ahmad Al Basha / AFP

One woman’s love for her city helped her feel pride beyond the pain of losing a son, five times over.

Dawlah Thabet Al Sabri's ordeal began in 2015, when Taez city was overrun by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who stormed its streets, imprisoning and murdering its citizens.

Mrs Al Sabri encouraged her sons to join the resistance militias to retake the city from the Iran-backed rebels, Hayat Al Thubhani, a media activist from Taez, told The National.

The militias are part of the pro-government forces backed by the Arab-coalition, which has been fighting the rebels on behalf of internationally recognised government since March 2015.

"My mother is a very strong woman. She tries to hide her sadness to keep us strong, but I know she dies every day when she sees dozens of her grandsons became orphans. To lose five of your sons is something incredible," said Radhwan, the younger of Mrs Al Sabri’s two remaining sons.

She also lost a grandson, Anwar, who was killed by shrapnel from a rebel mortar shell fired at the centre of the city.

The Houthis, after finding out about the family’s involvement in the pro-government forces, demolished Mrs Al Sabri’s house.

Read more: Yemeni forces make key advance towards rebel-held port

Ahmed bin Dagher, Yemen’s prime minister, called Mrs Al Sabri on Tuesday to thank her for her sacrifice. He also ordered that she be paid 10 million riyals as compensation for the loss of her home, according to the Yemeni news agency Saba.

"My brothers Ryadh, Taha, Kamal, Mosa and Murtada are all martyrs. They were killed fighting the Houthis on different battlefronts in Taez," Radhwan told The National.

"Me and another brother are the two left of our family but we are still fighting with the army and the public resistance. We either get rid Houthis or follow our brothers, there is no other choice."