Yemen’s joint defense forces have advanced as far as just 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the hugely-strategic west-central province of Ma’rib’s capital.
Local sources said on Wednesday the country’s army and Popular Committees had regained full control over the province’s Harib District that lies to the south of Ma’rib’s capital.
The forces have been fighting jointly back against a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that began invading Yemen in 2015. The coalition has unsuccessfully been trying to restore the country’s control to Yemen’s former government, which allies itself with Riyadh.
Media outlets associated with the ex-government, meanwhile, reported the death of Harib’s governor, Nasser Ali al-Qahati during the confrontations that led to the district’s recapture.
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According to Yemen’s al-Masirah television network, Ma’rib’s governor Ali Ta’iman, meanwhile, warned that the coalition had been dispatching “thousands” of terrorists from the Daesh and al-Qaeda Takfiri terrorist groups towards Harib to undo the forces’ gains.
He, therefore, urged Harib’s residents to resist the terrorists and prevent them from entrenching themselves among civilians.
Ever since the start of the war, the coalition has been counting on the Takfiris to help its forces on the ground and also create diversionary fronts elsewhere to distract Yemeni defense forces from their ongoing operations.
The Yemeni forces had advanced close to Ma’rib’s capital—that bears the same name as the province itself—before this too.
The absence of rocky and mountainous terrains in the province that could lend hideouts to the forces and shield them from the invading coalition’s airstrikes, had, however, prevented them from building substantially on their gains.
The forces have, therefore, been trying to gain ground in Shabwah and al-Bayda Provinces that neighbor Ma’rib Province’s to the south in order to be able to lay siege on the Saudi-led forces in Ma’rib.
Also on Wednesday, it was reported that Yemeni forces had also wrested back control of the Ain and Bayhan Districts in Shabwah.
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