Forces loyal to Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Yemen’s president-in-exile, have captured the southern Lahij province from the Shia Houthi militia and their allies, according to local pro-Hadi sources.
“Lahij is now entirely under the control of the popular resistance and Yemen’s pro-Hadi national army,” one pro-Hadi source told Anadolu Agency.
According to the same sources, more than 2,000 pro-Hadi fighters took part in the operation, which, they said, had succeeded in clearing the province of Houthi militiamen and allied forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On Monday, pro-Hadi forces declared that they had managed to seize control of the Al-Anad military base in Lahij with support from what they described as the “national army” and a Saudi-led air coalition.
In a related development, six pro-Hadi fighters were reportedly killed and another 20 injured in clashes late Monday with Houthi militiamen in Yemen’s Taiz province, a local pro-Hadi source told Anadolu Agency.
The source told Anadolu Agency by phone on Tuesday that “fierce fighting” had taken place in “several parts” of the Jabal Saber area near Taiz city.
“The Houthis carried out simultaneous mortar attacks on residential areas in Taiz city, including the Al-Rawda and Al-Moshki neighborhoods,” the source added, without providing casualty figures.
Yemen descended into chaos last September, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa. In April, the Houthis also managed to capture Yemen’s southern Aden province, from which Hadi – along with most of his government – was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia.
Recent weeks, however, have seen pro-Hadi forces retake most of the coastal province, allowing for the return of several Yemeni government officials from Riyadh, although Hadi himself has yet to return to the war-torn country.