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Exclusive: Yemeni National Army Says Taiz Territory is 85% Militia-Free

Riyadh, Taiz – Abdelhadi Habtour, Asharq Al-Awsat

The Yemeni National Army confirmed on Wednesday liberating 85% of the province of Taiz, 275 km south of Sana’a. Al-Arabiya’s correspondent cited Saudi arms power destroying Houthi militias vehicles just off Al Khubah, a village situated near borders with Yemen in the Saudi Jizan region. Saudi forces also stated aborting an attempted attack staged by Iran-aligned 25 Houthis who tried attacking villages in Jizan. In its statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Yemeni national army said that the remaining 15% of Taiz province area is witnessing continued efforts by pro-government powers for clearing it fully from militia influence. Most field advances are considered a result of national army forces joining forces with the Saudi-led Arab coalition backing Yemen’s internationally-recognized government headed by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi—especially as a result of the recently Riyadh-held meeting on military developments and joint strategies. According to the official spokesman of the Yemeni National Army, other battlefronts taking place in the Sa’ada, Jawf and Al Bayda provinces have also registered rapid victories as militia ranks dissolved and retreated. Gaining foothold on the coastal front was bolstered by new advances in Saada, Houthis’ first-taken stronghold, where over 30 coupists were killed in battles over the past two days. Dozens more were reported injured and a number of Houthi military vehicles demolished. Coalition fighters launched 5 air raids targeting Houthi positions and outposts in Mahader and Maran districts in the Saada province. On the western coast, militias responded to the loss of the Hays town by indiscriminate shelling of civilians. Militias also planted mines across large areas in Hays and on land routes leading to the Directorate of Al-Jarahi in an effort to slow the advance of the pro-government National Army and Popular Resistance Forces. Field sources reported the bombing of the bridge linking Hays to Al-Jarahi. Yemeni National Army Spokesman Brigadier General Abdu Majali said that the liberation of Hays and the defeat of Houthi militias led to cutting off major supply routes from several provinces, Taiz, Hodeidah and Ibb. "Retaking Hays driving Iran-supplied militias by the aid and support of the Arab Coalition was important and decisive for West Coast battles,” said Brig.Gen. Majali. The army spokesman added that army forces continue to inch into Hodeidah and its surrounding districts, and will do so over the upcoming few days. Brig.Gen. Majali pointed out that the national army was able to control main roads and cut off supplies to militias, a move expected to hasten the liberation of Hodeidah province and its strategic harbor. “It is important to liberate Hodeidah and its key port because of the continued smuggling of Iranian weapons and missiles through it— the liberation will aid in upholding the protection of land and sea from terrorist operations carried out by criminal militias.”

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