MA’RIB (Dispatches) – Heavy clashes between former regime forces and mercenaries, backed by Saudi Arabia, and Yemeni forces near the Yemeni city of Ma’rib continue, with the Yemeni troops claiming larger parts of the territory.
A military with the Saudi-baked forces admitted that Yemeni forces are "keeping up their slow advance on Ma’rib and now constitute a very real threat on the Kassara and Mashjah fronts, northwest of the city”.
Another military source told AFP that dozens of forces on both sides were killed in clashes on Wednesday and Thursday, as the Yemeni forces press their advance to seize the mercenaries’ last stronghold in the north.
Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition have also provided air support to mercenaries as they fight to keep control of Ma’rib, an oil-rich area.
Losing Ma’rib could prove to be disastrous for the Saudi-backed forces.
In another development, the Yemeni military’s missile force and air force carried out a joint operation using eleven missiles and drones against a facility belonging to Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil giant and other sensitive targets in the kingdom’s southwestern Jizan region.
"Aramco and other targets were struck by seven missiles of the Sa’ir and Badr type, and the hit was accurate by the grace of God and resulted in large fires” in the oil facility, spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree tweeted on Thursday morning.
Saree said four Samad-3 and Qasef-2K drones were also used in the attacks.
"This targeting comes in response to the escalation of the aggression and the continuation of the siege and [the war coalition’s] continuous crimes, the most recent of which was yesterday’s crime in Sa’ada,” the spokesman warned.
"We also promise the Saudi regime larger and larger operations if it continues its aggression and siege on our country,” he added.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia bombarded the border district of Monabeh in the northwestern province of Sa’ada, leaving two children dead and four people wounded.
Saudi Arabia, backed by a coalition of its allies, began the war on Yemen in March 2015 in favor of former Riyadh-friendly president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had resigned earlier and fled to Riyadh amid a political conflict in the country.
The Saudi war has brought about the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, according to the United Nations. It has killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, bringing the Yemeni people to the brink of famine and starvation.
The director of UK-based charity Muslim Hands’ Yemen operation has called the situation in the country "the worst humanitarian crisis in the past 100 years.”
Abdul Rahman Hussein told Arab News that money is needed urgently to stave off hunger, with Yemen facing famine and 80 percent of the population of over 30 million in need of humanitarian aid.
He also highlighted the complete breakdown of the country’s healthcare and education systems, at a time when aid from the UK government is set to be dramatically slashed.
"The aid … wasn’t enough then, and current cuts will make the situation even worse,” he said. "Food security and healthcare will be hit the hardest, and the majority of Yemenis are dependent on NGOs and aid.”