Yemeni forces advance towards rebel-held Hodeidah

Houthi rebels reportedly in 'an unprecedented state of confusion'

(FILES) A file photo taken on December 10, 2017 shows Yemeni fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni president gesturing and shout slogans as they stand on a road leading to the town of Khokha which was retaken from Shiite-Huthi rebels, about 120 kilometres south of the Huthi rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida.  / AFP / SALEH AL-OBEIDI

Yemeni forces have advanced to within 50 kilometres of the strategic Hodeidah port in a large-scale offensive on the country's western coast.

Houthi rebels were left in "an unprecedented state of confusion, panic and major collapse" as a result of the surprise military operation, UAE state media Wam reported.

UAE forces operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition provided support to the Yemeni National Army, and the Tihama Resistance Forces and Giant Brigades, which were advancing towards the Al Jah area in the Bayt Al Faqih District.

The advancing forces seized large quantities of weapons, ammunition, military equipment and vehicles after rebels fled from Al Mugris in the Tahita District, it was reported.

In recent weeks, the Iran-backed Houthis militias have been losing ground as Yemeni forces make sweeping advances towards Hodeidah. Wam described the recent operation as a severe blow for the rebels, who are said to have suffered heavy casualties. "Tens of their fighters fled the battlegrounds," Wam said.

A Yemeni military source said coalition air support had been critical in liberating a number of strategic areas, including Zubaid and Jubaliya Junctions, Matina, Al Mugris, Al Mujalis and Al Suwaiq.

''The successive fatal blows have paralysed and confused the militias, leaving them unable to withdraw their weapons and dead bodies,'' the source stated. ''Many desperate and defeated rebels have been arrested by the resistance forces.''

With the recent advances by Yemeni forces along the Red Sea Coast, the Houthi uprising may be nearing its end, Wam predicted.