Yemeni gov't forces push Houthis out of southeastern district

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-15 20:56:47|Editor: Zhou Xin
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ADEN, Yemen, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni government forces battling the Shiite Houthi group on Friday recaptured a southeastern district.

The newly-recruited troops supported by southern tribal fighters engaged in fierce fighting with the Houthi fighters in Bayhan district of Shabwa province, leaving about 38 killed from both warring sides and injuring many others, a military commander told Xinhua by phone.

"About three army brigades backed by the Saudi-led coalition advanced on-ground and imposed full control over the government buildings in Bayhan district. The Houthi fighters were pushed out," the military official said.

He said that more than 32 Houthi fighters were captured during the ongoing fighting in Bayhan district of the oil-rich province of Shabwa that is controlled by the government.

The gain comes amid fierce clashes as the Saudi-backed troops continued pushing toward other areas controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

During the past few months, the Saudi-backed Yemeni forces, made slow progress due to the stiff resistance of the Houthi fighters and a large number of roadside bombs and booby-trapped houses in and around the roads leading to Bayhan district.

Saudi Arabia-led military coalition has intensified military air campaign against Houthi positions in and around the Houthi rebels-held capital Sanaa since Houthis killed Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Dec. 4.

The coalition has intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to roll back Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels, and backed internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi whom Houthis forced into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The war has killed over 10,000 Yemenis, mostly children, displaced 3 million, and triggered the world's most humanitarian catastrophe.

Tensions have escalated in Sanaa and other northern provinces after Houthis killed their top ally strongman Saleh after he changed alliance and backed the anti-Houthi coalition.