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Yemeni government forces launch an offensive against Huthi rebels
Yemeni government forces launch an offensive against Huthi rebels
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Yemen's Huthi rebels advance on last government controlled city after taking control of nearby mountain

The Huthis and the government have been locked in a power struggle since 2014.
Mar 19th 2021, 1:16 PM 8,688 17

YEMEN’S HUTHI REBELS have made major advances on Marib city, the government’s final holdout in the country’s north, after hours of clashes, government military sources said today.

The Huthis and the government have been locked in a power struggle since 2014, when the Iran-backed insurgents seized control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Since last month, the rebels have been pushing to seize Marib, the government’s last northern stronghold and the capital of an oil-rich region.

The Huthi rebels “took control of Mount Hilan overlooking the city, after fighting which left dozens of dead and wounded on both sides,” one of the sources told AFP.

“Marib is in danger,” another source said, adding the loss of the mountain posed “a threat to Marib’s first line of defence”.

The Huthis had “cut the supply lines of some fronts and are now within firing range of the Al-Mashjab line west of Marib city,” the source said.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in 2015, enforcing a naval and air blockade to prevent the smuggling of weapons to the rebels from Iran – allegations Tehran denies. 

The rebels say any ceasefire agreement can only begin after the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen is lifted.

The news of their advance came only hours after the United Nations Security Council condemned the “escalation” of armed clashes around Marib city and warned of a worsening humanitarian catastrophe.

The fighting “places one million internally displaced persons at grave risk and threatens efforts to secure a political settlement when the international community is increasingly united to end the conflict,” it said.

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In a statement, it “stressed the need for de-escalation by all, including an immediate end to the Huthi escalation in Marib (and) condemned the use of child soldiers in Marib.”

The council also condemned cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia.

© AFP 2021

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