The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has sent hundreds of fighters to the oil-rich, south-eastern province of Shabwa to retake three districts that fell to the Iran-backed Houthis in September.
“Hundreds of troops were mobilised from the southern territories to liberate the western districts of Bayhan, Ain and Ousaiylan in Shabwa,” a military commander told The National.
The three districts are home to some of the most productive oil sites in southern Yemen.
The units include troops from Al Amalikah forces, which have been fighting the Houthis in the western coast. Other forces under the command of the Southern Transitional Council are involved.
A large military campaign is expected to begin soon.
The move came two days after President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi dismissed the province's governor, accusing him of corruption and mismanagement. Mohammed bin Aydo belongs to Al Islah party.
Mr Hadi appointed Sheikh Awadh Mohammed Alaulaki, a prominent tribal leader, as Shabwa's new governor.
Protests had erupted in the province demanding Mr bin Aydo’s dismissal. Demonstrators accused him of abusing power and handing over the province’s resources to his party.
“We welcomed the decision to appoint Sheikh Awadh Alaulaki as a new governor for Shabwa and we will support him to deal with all the issues that had accumulated in the province in the last couple of years” Ali Al Katheri, a spokesman for the Southern Transitional Council told The National.