Yemen govt forces, Houthis continue fighting over Shabwa

Battles over the control of Yemen’s oil-rich province of Shabwa have continued to intensify between the Houthi rebels and government forces, a military official said.

“The Houthi rebel group stormed three key districts in Shabwa and deployed its fighters there but faced tough resistance from the government forces,” the official told Xinhua news agency on Friday.

“Heavy forces loyal to Yemen’s government were mobilized from different areas in the country’s southern part and succeeded in confronting the Houthi offensive against Shabwa,” he said.

In Shabwa’s western part, particularly the oil-rich district of Usaylan, the government forces have expelled the Houthis from a number of areas following days of fighting, the official added.

During the past 48 hours, 98 Houthi rebels were killed by the government forces backed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Shabwa, according to the Yemeni official.

Another local official said that the fighting is still going on as the Houthis apparently aim at capturing Usaylan district with a large oil field.

“The Houthi militia received reinforcements and began preparations for raiding Usaylan and other areas in Shabwa again,” he said.

In 2017, the Yemen government forces backed by Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a large military campaign and expelled the Houthi rebels out of all the strategic areas in Shabwa.

The Houthi militia recently intensified their military operations against the government-controlled areas in different parts of the war-ravaged Arab country, and succeeded in capturing key areas from the government forces.