As Yemen’s military offensive against Shia Muslim resistance fighters enters a fifth week, the army claims to have recaptured several Houthi positions in the north.
The military said Wednesday that after two days of heavy fighting in Sadaa province that included air strikes, government troops managed to recapture the Jabal al-Ahmar district in south of Saada city, and that they have cleared the area of Zaidi fighters.
It has also claimed to have inflicted heavy human losses on the Muslim Zaidi fighters, also known as Houthis, following what the army called ‘deadly air strikes in the region.’
“Fighter jets have dealt the rebels a painful blow, killing many of them during the confrontations and troops have cleared the mountains of them and taken up positions there,” the state news agency Saba quoted a military official as saying.
The fighters, led by Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, have not commented on the government report yet. Both sides have often claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on the other side, something difficult to verify since no journalist are allowed in the conflict zone.
Also on Wednesday, Yemen’s Information Minister Hassan al-Lawzi claimed that more than 100 Zaidi Shia fighters had been arrested and were being interrogated. He also said that government’s conditions for a ceasefire, which includes Houthis’ withdrawal from all districts of Saada and mountainous sites and the return of their weapons, was non-negotiable.
According to United Nations figures, more than 35,000 people have been displaced by weeks of fighting in Saada and Amran provinces. The world body has repeatedly warned of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region. Houthi fighters accuse the government forces of preventing the displaced civilians from returning to their homes.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed since the Yemeni government launched its “Scorched Earth” operation against Muslim fighters on August 11.