The Yemeni military, backed by the Arab Coalition, captured strategic high ground critical to the battle against the Houthi militia in Hodeidah, Yemen’s rebel-held port city. Along the northern front, the legitimate government was able to capture Mount Dharawiya, situated in the Baqim district less than 15 kilometres from the Saudi-Yemeni border.
The gain will allow government forces access to a key trade route that serves as supply lines with the northern front, where the Arab coalition is fighting on behalf of the internationally recognised government of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.
Control of Saada, where the strategic mountain is located, will also enable government forces to sever rebels’ supply route from Hodeidah to the neighbouring province of Taez, where coalition-backed government forces are fighting the insurgents on several fronts.
More than 30 Houthis were killed and two were detained in the battle, a military source told Al Arabiya news channel. The military is making a renewed push to capture Hodeidah, which the coalition says the Iran-backed Houthis are using to smuggle in weapons and launch attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. Rebels captured the key port city in 2015. Houthis argue the coastal city should be off-limits from the battle, to prevent disruption of imports used to alleviate what is widely recognised as worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
However, several international organisations have blamed the Iranian-backed rebels for imposing trade blockades that have exasperated cases of disease and malnutrition in Yemen. Earlier this week, the UAE armed forces — a key player in the Arab coalition — delivered aid to the residents of Haiys in Hodeidah on Tuesday after helping the Yemeni forces liberate it from the Houthi rebels earlier this week.