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Yemen: Houthis advancing east of Sanaa

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Houthi rebels made progress on the eastern fronts of Sana’a at the expense of the government forces, who, in the words of the Minister of Defense, said they had made a “tactical withdrawal”.

Field leaders told AFP that the nine-day fighting led to the Houthis taking control of government sites.

The sources say that the Houthis launched simultaneous attacks that included the directorates of Naham, Al-Jawf and Marib.

One of the field commanders, who declined to be named, said that “some of the sites were under the control of the government forces three years ago.”

The Houthis were able to cut the supply lines linking Al-Jouf and Marib, and took control of several mountain hills.

According to a Yemeni military source, these developments came despite the coalition launching “more than thirty air strikes during the past three days to relieve pressure on government forces.”

The Yemeni defense minister, Brigadier General Muhammad Ali al-Maqdashi, implicitly recognized the Houthis’ progress in Naham, according to the official Saba news agency.

Al-Maqdashi spoke at a meeting with military leaders in Marib, 170 km east of Sanaa, of “a tactical withdrawal of some military units in some locations.”

He added that those forces “are currently arranging their status to carry out their combat duties and duties in a manner that achieves victory,” and considered that “the liberation of the capital, Sanaa, is an irreversible option.”

The nine-day fighting has resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of both sides.

Marib is witnessing tension and fears that the Houthis will reach it, especially after they regained the road linking it to Al-Jouf and cut off some supply lines in the areas west of the city.

“The Houthis appear to be making the most progress in the field, and they also seem to be controlling the important Naham front,” said a report published by the International Crisis Group.

The non-governmental organization warned of “the expansion of the conflict, which will have a devastating effect on peace efforts.”

One day after the fighting began, the government accused the Houthis of killing 116 soldiers in a missile attack on their camp in Marib on January 18.

The Houthis have not claimed responsibility for the attack, nor have they denied responsibility for it.

According to a number of NGOs, the war resulted in thousands of deaths, most of them civilians. Yemen is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations.

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