A Yemeni soldier mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck near the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha, Yemen January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman A Yemeni soldier mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck near the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha, Yemen January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman

Fight against Houthis in Nihm nearly complete: Sanaa governor

Tue, May. 1, 2018
CAIRO – 1 May 2018: Sanaa Governor Sheikh Abdul Qawi Shareef said that the battle in the Nihm district in northern Sanaa, which started about two years ago against Houthi militants in Yemen, is about to be finished.

In an interview with Egypt Today, Shareef said that the Yemeni National Army has control of about 90 percent of the Nihm district, adding that after the accomplishment of the mission in Nihm, the battles against Houthis should not be that complicated. The Houthis know this fact, which is why they will do everything to win the battle in Nihm, Shareef added.

Shareef said that the army faced many obstacles in the fight against Houthis in Nihm due to the mountainous geography of the region. Shareef added that the Houthis have made the mission more complicated because they exist in areas inhabited by civilians, preventing the army from achieving progress.

The army’s top priority is to protect civilians and prevent more deaths of Yemenis, Shareef explained.

According to Shareef, the Houthis evacuated many houses of residents in order to use them as storehouses for weapons. Moreover, Houthis have used many civilians as human shields and have used children in the fight against the army, Shareef added.

Yemeni children take part in a gathering in Sana’a organised by Shiite Huthi rebels to mobilise more fighters to battle pro-government forces, June 2017. Photograph: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

Shareef affirmed that the army has found Iranian weapons possessed by the Houthi militants, in addition to missiles and landmines that were made under the supervision of Iranian experts.

Concerning humanitarian aid provided to Yemenis, Shareef said that the King Salman Relief and Humanitarian Aid Center (KSRelief) and the Arab coalition countries have sent much humanitarian aid. However, the Houthis receive the aid instead of the people and then sell it.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE intervened against the Houthis in Yemen’s war in 2015 to restore Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government. The United Nations says 10,000 people have died in the fighting.

The coalition consists of nine main countries, including Bahrain, Jordan and Sudan. Qatar was expelled from the coalition over accusations of supporting terrorism and being too closely allied with Iran.

The Yemeni army regained control on three mountains in Nihm on Sunday following clashes with the Houthi militia that left more than 23 militiamen killed and scores injured.

Colonel Abdullah Al Shandaqi, spokesperson for the 7th Military Region, said six armored vehicles, nine militia crews and a tank were destroyed by the Arab coalition's strikes and the army's artillery shelling.

The fighting continues amid great progress by the national army and the withdrawal of the militia towards Sanaa.
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