Security forces guard Sanaa International Airport as they wait for the arrival of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen on January 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO)
ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Saudi-backed Yemeni forces advanced against the Shiite Houthi rebels during the past 24 hours and seized areas across the country's western coast and around the Mocha seaport, according to military sources on Sunday.
"The pro-government forces approached from the strategic port of Mocha and liberated some areas located around the area after fierce fighting surprised by the UAE troops," an official of the Fourth Regional Military Command told Xinhua.
"Our forces will keep on progressing towards Mocha seaport. Fierce battles are still raging now around the port," the source said on condition of anonymity.
Medical sources said that more than 50 Shiite Houthi gunmen and about 19 soldiers loyal to the internationally-backed government were killed during the past 24 hours in the country's western part.
Warplanes of the Saudi-led Arab coalition played an important role in the all-out military campaign to recapture and secure Yemen's western coast and the strategic Bab Al Mandab strait.
According to Saba, the news service run by the dominant Houthi movement since it seized control of Sanaa in 2015, two citizens were killed in air strikes by the U.S.-Saudi warplanes in the past 24 hours.
"A woman was killed and others were wounded in two air raids that targeted their home in Mocha district and a citizen was killed in an air strike which targeted another area of Taiz province," it said.
In the Houthi-controlled capital of Sanaa, three residents, including a woman, were injured in a Saudi airstrike on Nehm district, Saba reported.
The pro-Houthi forces threatened to launch armed attacks against any movement of vessels in the Yemeni waters and in the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab in the upcoming hours, sources close to the pro-Houthi forces confirmed to Xinhua.
An army commander, however, said that most of the Saudi-led air strikes targeted only military sites in areas such as the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodyada.
Yemen has been suffering from a civil war and a Saudi-led military intervention for about two years. The civil war began after the Houthi militants with support from forces loyal to the former president ousted the UN-backed transitional government.
The legitimate government now controls the south and some eastern parts, while the Houthi-Saleh alliance controls the other parts including the capital Sanaa.
The UN has brokered rounds of peace talks between the warring factions, but they failed to reach any common ground.