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Yemeni group demands popular support amid decisive battle in Ma’rib against Saudi forces

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ansarullah fighters hold up posters bearing the portraits of comrades killed in recent battles, during a mass funeral for them at al-Saleh Mosque in Sana’a, Yemen, on February 16, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

A Yemeni group has called on people from all walks of life in the country to throw their weight behind the ongoing battle in the strategic central province of Ma’rib as Yemeni army and allied fighters from Popular Committees are pushing to drive out Saudi-led coalition forces and their mercenaries.

The Future of Justice said in a statement released on Thursday that Saudi monarch King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who claims to be the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has been conducting a military onslaught in Yemen for 70 months with the support of the United States and the Israeli regime, and has reaped nothing out of the campaign.

The Yemeni nation, on the other hand, showed such strength, faith and steadfastness that Saudi authorities, their Arab allies, Israeli officials and former US president Donald Trump could never imagine their imposed war would last for more than six years, the statement added.

“The aggressors thought the war would last for six months even with Yemenis’ resistance, after which the country would have been handed over to the Israeli regime and their American masters. This would have made Yemen the first country to host Zionist groups, and would have allowed them to back up their claim of Yemeni heritage,” the statement pointed out.

The Future of Justice went on to say that Yemeni army forces and their allies are on the fringes of Ma’rib, calling on Yemeni people to support them in their decisive battle as they are only a few steps away from final victory.

The group asked all Yemeni intellectual, cultural and political figures as well as civil society organizations to assume their religious, national and humanitarian responsibilities, and asked the Yemeni military forces throughout the country to join forces with the Sana’a-based National Salvation Government.

Daesh alliance with Saudi mercenaries

The politburo of the Ansarullah movement denounced the West's opposition to the Ma’rib offensive which comes amid Daesh's confirmation of helping Saudi mercenaries in the battle.  

“Daesh’s recent announcement that it is fighting alongside the coalition of aggression in Ma’rib represents the intimate connection between the criminal [Saudi-led] alliance and Daesh terrorist group,” it said in a statement.

“We hold the coalition of aggression and Daesh fully responsible for the crimes committed against Arab people,” Ansarullah pointed out.

“The Yemeni nation will never be left alone, and it reserves the right to continue the fight for liberation and to confront the criminal and murderous coalition, which has no objective but to keep Yemen in a state of turmoil and under the foreign influence,” the statement said.

Over the past few weeks, Ma'rib has been the scene of large-scale operations by the Yemeni troops and allied Popular Committees fighters pushing hard to retake it from forces loyal to the Saudi-backed government of former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Daesh issued a short statement on Wednesday, saying it has carried out operations against Yemeni armed forces in Ma’rib province, killing and wounding a number of them in the process. 

The Yemeni forces' advances have raised concerns in the Saudi-led coalition and their allies, including the United States.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price called on Yemeni forces and Popular Committees fighters to halt their offensive and end retaliatory strikes on Saudi Arabia. 

Ansarullah says the call proves the US support for terrorist elements in Ma'rib.

‘Civilians used as human shields in Ma’rib’

The Yemeni High Council for Humanitarian Affairs said the Saudi coalition and its mercenaries are using civilians and internally displaced people in Ma'rib as human shields to stop the advance of Yemeni army troops and fighters from Popular Committees.

The council, in a statement on Thursday, deplored the insistence of militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafist Islah Party to use Ma'rib civilians as human shields, and their blunt refusal to open humanitarian corridors for unarmed civilians to leave the conflict zone.

The statement said the Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries are using Ma’rib residents as a tool to delay the liberation of the city.

The council noted that the forces are endangering the lives of civilians and exacerbating poor conditions in refugee camps around Ma’rib.

It said it is closely monitoring the developments in Ma’rib, and has made preparations for the reception of all civilians who exit the city.

The Yemeni humanitarian council finally stressed that the international community must stop the Saudi-led coalition's crimes so that civilians and displaced people are safe from the repercussions of the clashes, emphasizing that the alliance must not hide behind civilians to conceal its actions.

Houthi rebukes UN special envoy

A member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council called the battle to liberate Ma’rib an act of defense against the relentless aggression of the Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries, which began with an onslaught on Sana’a back in March 2015.

“Ever since they failed to overrun Nihm city east of Sana’a [in February 2017], their assaults have intensified and battles raged on, and now [the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Martin] Griffiths wants to stop the fighting and terms the latest development an attack on Mar’ib,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi noted in a post published on his Twitter page.

He added, “The UN envoy knows that aggressors dismissed the seven-point Yemen peace plan [brokered by the United Nation during talks in the Omani capital Muscat back in October 2015] on the grounds that the Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries were advancing in the battle for the capture of Sana’a. 

“They did not agree to the cessation of airstrikes and removal of siege in exchange for us to stop our attacks.”

Griffiths on Thursday said that the advances of Yemen’s army and forces from popular committees in the province of Ma’rib “threaten all of the prospects of the peace process” in the war-torn Arab country.

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