Yemen's ambassador to Tehran has likened the battle for liberation of Ma'rib to that for Syria's Aleppo from the grip of foreign-backed terrorists, saying the recapture of the strategic province will be a “turning point” in the war.
Speaking to Tasnim news agency, Ibrahim Mohammad al-Dailami said that the Yemeni army and allied fighters from Popular Committees are currently in control of 12 towns in Ma’rib following agreements with local tribes.
The Yemeni forces “are advancing every day. We are satisfied with our situation in the battle. This is while the army and Popular Committees are fighting on an open ground without air cover," he said.
"In fact,… the victories that Ansarullah fighters have achieved so far are truly miraculous because they are under siege,” he added.
Dailami also called the Ma'rib battle the hardest fight in Yemen, stressing, however, that negotiations with local tribes have played a very positive role in the gains so far and led the Ansarullah fighters to the gate of Ma'rib city.
“This Ma’rib battle is like the Aleppo fighting in Syria. The liberation of Aleppo was a turning point in the Syria war and changed the course of war in the country. We believe that if Ma’rib is liberated, it will be easy to liberate the rest of Yemen,” he said.
The Yemeni envoy further explained that Ma’rib city is occupied by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the United States, with Daesh, al-Qaeda, and Islah Party militants fighting in their ranks.
“The army and Popular Committees are determined to prevent the country’s disintegration and liberate the occupied territories... Indeed, the battle in the occupied areas is a war with military personnel from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the United States, and they have to leave Yemen,” he said.
He also announced plans to declare a general amnesty at the end of the war, under which Yemeni militants, who have fought alongside Saudi and Emirati forces, must surrender their weapons to be considered ordinary citizens.
Ma’rib, which is located right in the middle of a whole host of other Yemeni provinces, has turned into a focus of the Yemeni army’s liberation operations since last year.
The province’s recapture, towards which many advancements have been made so far, is expected to pave the way for further military victories by Yemen’s armed forces.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and its regional allies, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.
The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s heavily-armed and continued bombardment of the impoverished country, Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi-led invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.