Forces under the command of Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council recaptured areas of the oil-rich Shabwa province in south-eastern Yemen on Friday.
Al Amalika Southern Forces, backed by the Arab coalition supporting the internationally backed government, said they had taken the strategic areas of Bayhan Al Eylia after liberating Al Hanu and Hajar Alsheikh near Bayhan city.
The announcement came hours after troops captured a key intersection, Al Sadi, which links the Bayhan district in Shabwa with the Harib district in Marib province, Saber Abdulwahid of the Al Amalika Media Centre told The National.
The motorway formed a main supply route for the Houthi rebel group.
Shabwa has become a key battleground in the war, which has raged since the Iran-backed Houthi rebels took over Sanaa in 2014, ousting the internationally backed government. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened on behalf of the government in 2015.
A military commander in the Southern Forces of Al Amalika told The National on Friday that more than 200 Houthi rebels were killed as clashes intensified in the areas of Hajar Assada, Al Safra, Al Suleim and the Al Sadi intersection in Wadi Bayhan in the past couple of days.
“The Houthi rebels resorted to the mountainous chain overlooking the main road leading from Usialan to Bayhan, but they can no longer fortify in the mountains because our troops have been tightening the noose around them and the coalition aircraft have been hunting their hideouts,” the commander said.
The coalition said in a statement issued on Thursday that 390 Houthi rebels had been killed in battles raging in different flashpoints in Yemen. This includes the 240 Houthi rebels who were killed in the recent clashes in Shabwa.
Inside Bayhan city, the main stronghold for the group in Shabwa province, the Houthi rebels have abandoned their positions in the city as Southern Transitional Council forces advanced.
“They abandoned their main bases in the city and left them open for people to loot them. They also freed all the prisoners who were being held in the police department in the city,” Adeeb Al Abed, a resident of Bayhan, told The National.