Intensified airstrikes curb Houthis' progress toward Yemen's oil-rich Marib

Source: Xinhua| 2021-02-23 21:54:37|Editor: huaxia

ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Saudi Arabia-led coalition continued Tuesday in launching intensified airstrikes on the Houthi fighters attacking Yemen's oil-rich province of Marib, a military official told Xinhua.

According to the local official who asked to remain anonymous, a series of sustained air raids were carried out by the coalition's warplanes and struck Houthi-held areas in different areas of Marib during the past 24 hours.

He said that "the intensification of airstrikes largely helped the local anti-Houthi tribal fighters on-ground and encouraged them to counter the Houthi offensive on their province."

The Yemeni official confirmed that the surge of the Houthi militias appeared to have been partially halted, as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) intensified air campaign helped to curb the rebels' advancement towards Marib.

A local tribal chief told Xinhua by phone saying that "with the non-stop hovering of fighter jets overhead, the Houthi fighters were impeded and they are concentrating on covering themselves and avoiding being targeted."

During the past days, the intensity of fighting enabled the Houthi rebels to capture key areas from the pro-government forces based in Marib.

"The Houthi attack has killed a number of pro-government army commanders and pushed some high-ranking military leaders to flee Marib seeking safe locations in neighboring southern and eastern provinces," the tribal source said anonymously.

Fighting erupted in earlier Feb. as the Houthis tried to make advances towards the strategic oil-rich province of Marib. Dozens were either killed or injured from both warring sides in the non-stop armed confrontations in Marib amid heavy airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

Escalation of fighting between the Yemeni government and the Houthi militia has displaced nearly 1,500 families from Marib's western areas so far.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni military conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi's government. Enditem