Resistance opens new route into Taez with UAE armoured vehicles
ADEN // Pro-government forces opened a new route into the besieged city of Taez on Monday, using armoured vehicles supplied by the UAE a day earlier.
A convoy of the vehicles entered Taez early on Monday morning, bringing reinforcements to resistance fighters locked in battle with Houthi rebels inside the city, said Moa’ath Al Yaseri, a leader of the Popular Resistance in Taez.
As well as military reinforcements, the new route will be used to bring much needed food, medical supplies and other aid to residents of the city, which has been surrounded by the Iran-backed rebels for about two months, Mr Al Yaseri said.
“This road is a first step to break the siege of the city. The road connects Al Dhabab area and the centre of the city, so it will help us a lot,” he said.
Mr Al Yaseri said resistance fighters foiled an attempt to ambush the convoy en route to Taez city, killing several rebels. He did not provide figures for resistance casualties, but news websites including BBC Arabic said 12 fighters were killed.
Al Dhabab, south-west of the city, is one of the main battle fronts against the Houthis and allied renegade units of the Yemeni military in Taez province. Clashes continued in the district on Monday as the rebels attempted to advance but were pushed back by the pro-government resistance.
Tawfeeq Al Adimi, a resistance fighter in Taez, said the Houthis were continuing to shell the city and targeted the Tha’abat, Kilabah, Mashra’ah, Hadnan and Zaid Al Moshki areas on Sunday night. There were no figures on casualties from the shelling, but two people were killed by a rebel landmine in the Tha’abat area on Monday, he said.
“Two people were killed in two landmine explosions on the main road that connects the roundabout of the [Republican] palace and the centre of Taez city,” Mr Al Adimi said.
The victims were the driver of a private car and a taxi driver, he said, adding that the resistance then closed the road because it was “full of landmines”.
Mr Al Adimi said the planting of landmines by the rebels was a clear sign that they would be withdrawing from the area.
The Houthis have heavily mined other battle fronts in Yemen just before they were forced to retreat, most recently in Marib, slowing the advance of pro-government forces.
The liberation of Taez is key to the advance of pro-government forces towards the capital, Sanaa, to the north. Resistance forces in Al Dhabab were able to make gains against rebels there last week after receiving an airdrop of arms and ammunition from the Saudi-led regional coalition seeking to restore the government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. The coalition, in which the UAE is playing a leading role, has so far helped to liberate several southern provinces from the rebels, beginning with the recapture of Aden in July.
Updated: November 3, 2015 04:00 AM