Toll mounts as battle for Yemen’s Marib heats up

Houthis are fighting to seize the region

Fighting for the key Yemeni region of Marib has intensified, with 53 pro-government and Houthi rebel fighters killed in the past 24 hours, loyalist military officials said on Saturday.

The Houthis have been trying to seize oil-rich Marib, the government’s last significant pocket of territory in the north, since February.

“The rebels have managed to seize a bit of territory” in the latest fighting northwest of the city, a pro-government military source said, assessing the city of Marib itself was not under threat.

The same source said 22 government soldiers including five officers had been killed, along with 31 rebels.

The Houthis rarely announce casualties on their own side.

The Iran-backed rebels in late 2014 overran the capital Sanaa. That prompted a Saudi-led coalition to intervene in March 2015 to prop up the government.

Loyalist military officials said on Saturday that coalition aircraft had carried out strikes against the rebels, but the Houthis had pushed on with their offensive.

The loss of Marib could lead to humanitarian disaster as huge numbers of civilians displaced from fighting elsewhere have sought refuge in Marib camps.

Source: Read Full Article