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Yemen thwarts large-scale advances by Saudi-backed mercenaries in Shabwah: Spokesman

This file photo shows Yemen’s Ansarullah fighters who are main allies to the country’s armed forces.

The Yemeni army's spokesman says the country's armed forces have managed to thwart large-scale advances in the southern province of Shabwah by mercenaries who enjoy the support of the Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging a war of aggression against Yemen since 2015.

"During the last 24 hours, our armed forces were able to counter a number of large-scale advances with heavy air cover toward our forces' positions in A'ain district of Shabwa" province, Brigadier General Yahya Saree said in a string of tweets on Saturday.

Explaining further, he said the counterattack had killed and injured as many as 120 mercenaries after "a number of enemy gatherings were targeted with four ballistic missiles."

The Yemeni forces also inflicted "heavy losses" on the Saudi-backed forces' military equipment, the spokesman said.

"Twelve armored vehicles were destroyed," Saree said, partially describing the material losses that were suffered by the militants.

Saudi Arabia and several of its allies have been attacking the Arab world’s already poorest nation since March 2015 in an unsuccessful bid to change its ruling structure in favor of its former Riyadh-aligned officials.

The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire Yemen into the scene of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Yemeni forces that feature the Yemeni army and its allied fighters from the Popular Committees have, however, vowed not to lay down their arms until the country's complete liberation from the scourge of the invasion.

Shabwah is the new focus of the liberation operations of the Yemeni forces, who have already freed much of the hugely strategic Ma'rib Province that neighbors Shabwah to the north.

Reporting on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal noted how the Yemeni defense forces had evolved steadily stronger during the war.

At the beginning of the war, the WSJ said, the Yemeni forces were only equipped with light weaponry, such as rocket and grenade launchers.

It cited a confidential report by the United Nations Security Council as noting that the forces “have developed the ability to build drones, short-range missiles, and other weapons using materials such as engines and electronics that they buy locally….”

Now, they can hit targets lying “1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away from their Yemeni mountain strongholds,” the paper said.

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