ADEN, Yemen, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni government forces on Friday announced recapturing a key southern district from the Houthi rebels following a large-scale military operation backed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.
According to a press statement released by the government forces, different military units of the local security and army forces launched a large-scale pre-dawn attack against the Houthis in Qataba district located to the northwestern part of al-Dhalea province.
The military attack sparked ferocious street battles that continued for several hours between the government forces and the Houthis in and around Qataba district, the statement said.
It said that the government forces succeeded in seizing full control over Qataba and the surrounding areas following the large-scale anti-Houthi military campaign that left scores of rebels killed or injured.
A military source based in the area told Xinhua that "the government forces stormed Qataba from various directions and managed to expel the Houthis out of the strategic southern district."
Videos released by local activists on social media apparently showed the moments of the the ferocious street fighting that forced Houthis to withdraw from Qataba district.
In one video, a group of government soldiers patrolling the main street of Qataba while chanting victory slogans while holding their automatic assault rifles.
The activists also shared graphic images of the fighting aftermath showing several bodies of Houthi fighters lying in streets of Qataba.
Both warring sides continued to mobilize large numbers of fighters to the frontlines in al-Dhalea amid non-stop armed confrontations taking place since weeks ago in the government-controlled province.
On Tuesday, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths tweeted that he is deeply concerned about the ongoing escalation of conflict in Dhale, and urged all parties to exercise utmost restraint.
The UN envoy said that any military escalation risks a setback in the progress towards peace in Yemen.
Last month, scores of Houthi fighters launched a series of intense armed attacks on the positions of government forces and succeeded in seizing the district of Al Husha in the west of al-Dhalea.
The areas in the north and west of the government-controlled al-Dhalea have been witnessing continuous fighting between government forces and Houthi fighters for four years.
Yemen has been plagued by a civil war since late 2014 after Houthi rebels revolted and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.