Yemeni media reports say an entire battalion loyal to former Riyadh-backed president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has defected to the Yemeni army and allied fighters from Popular Committees.
According to the reports on Saturday, the battalion from the pro-Hadi 117th infantry brigade had surrendered itself and all its military equipment to the Yemeni forces.
The development comes as the Yemeni forces are advancing against Saudi-led coalition forces and their mercenaries in the central province of Ma’rib.
The Daesh terrorist group has openly confirmed that its members are fighting alongside the mercenaries in the gas-producing region, which is considered as the last stronghold of Saudi-backed forces in northern Yemen.
In a post on his Twitter account, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, said, “What Ma’rib is witnessing is part of a national liberation battle, and in the face of the continued aggression and siege, the nation is determined to continue confrontation until the liberation of every inch of the occupied territory.”
The Yemeni forces have managed to wrest control over the al-Tala’a al-Hamra area in western Ma’rib as well as the Kofal military base belonging to Saudi-led coalition forces in the Sirwah district. They have also pushed towards the eastern entrance to Ma’rib city.
Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states, and with arms and logistics support from the US and several Western countries.
The aim was to return to power the Hadi regime and crush the popular movement which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in the country.
The war has failed to achieve its goals, but killed tens of thousands of innocent Yemenis and destroyed the impoverished country’s infrastructure. The UN refers to the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.