Yemen Fighting Persists Outside Occupied Capital

Al Houthis found to have used dozens of schools for military purposes

Dubai: Yemeni loyalists killed at least 20 Iran-backed Al Houthi militants Saturday in a pushback against insurgents seeking to retake positions to the northeast of the capital they control, military sources said.

“Al Houthis on Friday launched an offensive in the direction of Jabal Al Salb in Nihm” district of Sana’a province, “but were repelled on Saturday morning”, a loyalist commander told AFP.

“At least 20 Al Houthis were killed” since Friday night, another military source said.

He added that loyalists also died, but he did not give a death toll.

Yemeni officials said Saturday that Al Houthis are blocking the flow of humanitarian aid to Taiz, which is in government hands.

The militants have been besieging Taiz for months and have prevented the delivery of essential aid to the war-ravaged city for months.

Last week, pro-government forces captured the Jabal Al Salb area 40km outside Sana’a.

Loyalists and the Saudi-led military coalition supporting them have sent troops, armoured vehicles and tanks to reinforce the district.

Meanwhile, coalition fighter jets led dawn raids on rebel positions in Majzar area in neighbouring Jawf province to the north, which is mostly under loyalist control, a spokesman for the pro-government Popular Resistance forces said.

Loyalist forces advanced in Ghayl area in the same province, around 20km northeast of Majzar, Mohammad Al Behaih added.

Air strikes also targeted militia positions in Baqim and Kitaf areas in Saada province, the Al Houthis’ stronghold in northern Yemen, loyalist military sources said.

The militia confirmed these strikes in a brief statement.

Fighting persists in Yemen exactly nine months since the coalition entered the war to support President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, despite his government announcing the extension of a repeatedly violated ceasefire earlier this week.

The militia seized Sana’a last year and then advanced south to second city Aden, forcing Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Following territorial gains by loyalists, Hadi returned to Aden in November after six months in exile.

The conflict has escalated dramatically since March 26, with nearly 6,000 people killed according to UN figures.

Meanwhile. Yemeni media outlets have reported that the Al Houthi militia contributed to the destruction of dozens of schools in the country due to their use as weapons storage facilities and safe havens, depriving thousands of pupils from an education for over eight months. This was observed in the provinces of Amran, Hajja and Jawf, as well as Al Baida, Mareb, Taiz, Lahej, Daleh and Aden. Aside from schools, Al Houthis were found to be using public buildings as well as private homes for military purposes. The reports said that more than 250 government and public buildings were destroyed by Al Houthi weapons or as a result of their use for military purposes.

— With inputs from AFP



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