Pro-government forces in Yemen, backed by the Arab Coalition, thwarted two attacks by the Houthi rebels in the districts of Al Tuhayta and Al Duraihimi to south of the port city of Hodeidah.
The Iran-backed rebels attacked the Al Amalikah Brigades in an attempt to seize the centre of the district of Al Tuhayta, which was recaptured from the Houthis earlier this month, Al Tuhayta-based journalist Khalil Al Zekri told The National.
He said that at least 17 Houthis were killed in the clashes and dozens surrendered to the forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.
Al Amalikah Brigade and Tihama Resistance, a collective of forces with the goal of taking Hodeidah, launched an offensive against the Houthi hideouts in the villages of Al Kuraima and Al Maslab on the outskirts of Al Tuhayta district centre.
The two groups are backed by the Saudi-led coalition, of which the UAE is a member. It intervened in the war in March 2015 at the request of Mr Hadi’s government after the rebels took control of the capital, Sanaa.
In Al Duraihimi, dozens of Houthis were killed when they attacked pro-government forces. At least seven civilians, including children, were killed by Houthi shelling, a security source said.
Meanwhile, France’s envoy for Yemen met Houthi officials in Sanaa on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
"The objective of the envoy's [Christian Testot] visit was humanitarian, to update the Houthis on the results of the June 27 experts meeting and to see what concrete results can be achieved on the ground," a French diplomatic source said.
France downgraded an international humanitarian conference on Yemen in June after pro-government forces and the Arab Coalition launched an offensive on Hodeidah.
An aid source said French officials were hoping to use the meeting to persuade the Houthis to fully back a UN plan.
The Yemen government and the alliance say the Houthis must withdraw fully and unconditionally from Hodeidah, while the rebels have so far only agreed to shared control of the port city with the UN.