Yemen military seize strategic mountain range near Taez

The captures come as government forces try to push back Houthi rebels in southwest Yemen

Fighters from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, perform manoeuvres during a graduation ceremony in the southern city of Taez on August 17, 2018. (Photo by Ahmad AL-BASHA / AFP)
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Yemeni government troops have seized a strategically important mountain chain near Taez on Friday as the battle with Houthi rebels in the south-west rages.

Troops affiliate with the 4th military zone, backed by coalition forces, captured the strategic mountainous area of Al Dhawari in the district of Demnat Khadeer south of Taez on Friday, Lt. Mohammed Al Naqeeb, the spokesman for the 4th military zone, told The National.

“Capturing the mountainous chain of Al Dhawari is a crucial gain because these mountains have a location that allows the army forces to control wide swathes of Demnat Khadeer district and take control over Wadi Al Rahedah, which is the gate used by the Houthi militia to approach the centre of the district," Lt Al Naqeeb said.

"We are 10 kilometres far from the centre of Demant Khadeer district, and our forces are advancing despite a fierce battle with the Houthi militia, which lost strategic sites after receiving fatal blows from the army and from Arab coalition jets that launched several precision airstrikes on Thursday and Friday", Lt Al Naqeeb added.


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This new gain comes after areas around Haifan and Al Kabaiyta further south were taken in a recent offensive. The offensives are targeting an important area in southern Taez province still held by the Iran backed Houthi rebels.

In the province of Al-Baydha, 13 Houthi fighters were killed and dozens were injured in fierce fighting with the Yemeni army on Friday. The fighting came on the front of Al Malagem to the north of Al Baydha, a source in the Yemeni army told The National.

"The battle flared up when the Houthis tried to break into military sites controlled by the Yemeni army in the intersection of Al Bayaidh in Al Malagem district to the north of Al-Baydha", the military source said

In Marran front in Sada province in the northern region of Yemen, a high ranking Houthi leader was killed on Friday alongside three other junior officers when artillery units of the Yemeni army targeted them while they were visiting relatives.  The district was recently stormed by the army, the military-run news website 26 September reported on Friday.

"The high ranking leader who was killed is Ali Hussien Bathlee, a relative of the top Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al Houthi and one of the tribal Houthi leaders who founded the Iran-backed Houthi group along with Hussien Al Houthi, the brother of Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, in 1992”, 26 September reported.

The coalition intervened in the Yemen conflict in March 2015 at the request of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. It has helped the government gain control of large areas of southern Yemen, including the port city of Aden where the government is based after the rebels seized the capital, Saana, in September 2014.