Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:41AM
A Saudi soldier from an artillery unit walks near ammunition at a position close to the Saudi-Yemeni border on April 13, 2015. ©AFP
A Saudi soldier from an artillery unit walks near ammunition at a position close to the Saudi-Yemeni border on April 13, 2015. ©AFP

At least 20 Saudi soldiers have been killed in clashes in the kingdom's southwestern region of Jizan, Yemen's Defense Ministry says.

They were killed after their attempt to take back the control of the strategic Jabal al-Doud district of Jizan from Yemeni forces was thwarted, the ministry said on Friday.

Yemen's al-Masirah television also said the army and its allied forces fired a missile into an airport in Jizan, with no immediate word on possible damage or casualties. 

Elsewhere in Ma’rib Province, Yemeni ground forces advanced against Saudi-led forces in the Sarvah district, while Saudi warplanes bombed two areas to the west.

In Yemen's second city of Aden, at least six militants loyal to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi were killed in an attack in the al-Basateen district on Friday.

Masked assailants attacked a militant outpost before fleeing, a source told the AFP news agency. The attack came a day after three pro-Saudi militants were killed in the southern port city. 

Pro-Saudi forces backed by airstrikes, however, seized control of a military camp 60 km (40 miles) from Sana'a on Thursday, local officials and residents said. 

Battles between Saudi-led forces and Houthi Ansarullah fighters left a number of people dead and wounded, they said without giving precise figures.

Saudi Aircraft carried out dozens of strikes during the battles for the camp, located on one of the defense lines for the capital, they added.  

Yemenis walk past the ruins of buildings destroyed in a Saudi airstrike on February 10, 2016 in Sana’a. ©AFP

The push for the capital came amid reports that Saudi Ambassador to London Abdallah Al-Mouallimi had warned UN and other aid agencies to move their staff away from areas under the control of Yemeni armed forces.

The warning has raised fears that Saudi Arabia and its proxy forces in Yemen might be planning a major offensive.    

Yemen has been under airstrikes by Saudi Arabia since March 26 last year. The Saudi strikes have been meant to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and bring Hadi back to power.

Nearly 8,280 people, among them 2,236 children, have reportedly been killed and over 16,000 others injured. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.