Yemen’s Houthi-supported armed forces stepped up offensives against the last stronghold of pro-government fighters in Marib province on Monday following renewed clashes the day before. A source from the UN-recognised, Saudi-backed Yemeni government was quoted by AFP as stating that Houthi forces have since been bolstered by reinforcements.
“Fighting took place about 10 kilometres west of Marib,” said the anonymous source. “At least 20 government fighters were killed and 28 others wounded.” He added that Houthi fighters also suffered many casualties, but an accurate tally was not immediately available.
The push for the oil-rich province by the joint Houthi-army forces started last year following progress made in the neighbouring Al-Jawf province, including its provincial capital, Al-Hazm.
UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said on Twitter yesterday that he was “deeply concerned” about the situation in Marib, “especially at a time of renewed diplomatic momentum to end the war in Yemen and resume the political process.”
According to the Yemen Press Agency, the Houthi forces yesterday seized the Kawfal military camp from coalition-backed troops in the north of the province.
The development comes a week after US President Joe Biden announced an end to support for Saudi-led coalition operations in Yemen and halted some arms sales to the kingdom.
The US State Department has also notified Congress of its intention to revoke the terrorist designation of the Houthi movement, which was implemented under the Trump administration last month. Trump’s move was condemned widely by humanitarian organisations as hindering aid efforts in the war-torn country given that most of its population live under the Houthi-led, de-facto government based in the capital Sanaa.
On Monday, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council, the executive body of the Sanaa government, insisted that “Calls for peace by the coalition member states, while they are continuing their aggression and blockade, aim to make media excitement and to play the role of the victim, not the killer.”