YEMEN: More than 95 people have lost their lives as heavy fighting continued for two days between rebels and troops in Yemen’s Marib city, loyalist commanders said Friday.
According to reports, the fight broke out after Huthi rebels press their offensive on the government´s last northern toehold.
Government military source said clashes between the two sides on several fronts in the Marib area on Wednesday and Thursday killed 36 loyalist’s troops and 60 rebels. Aircraft of a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia provided air support to government ground forces.
“The Huthis are keeping up their unhurried advance on Marib and now constitute a very genuine hazard on the Kassara and Mashjah fronts, northwest of the city,” the officials said.
The loss of Marib would be a deep blow for the Yemeni government, presently based in the southern city of Aden, and for its Saudi backers.
The city of Marib and its surrounding oil fields make up the last major pocket of government-held territory in the north, the rest of which is under rebel control, including the capital Sanaa.
The city´s fall could also lead to humanitarian adversity, as huge numbers of inhabitants displaced from fighting somewhere else have sought refuge in the area.
Approximately 145 camps have sprung up in the surrounding desert to give essential shelter for up to two million displaced, according to the Yemeni government reports.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that the suffering will only end when a political solution is found between the Huthis and the government.
The rebels see Marib as a strategic prize that will give them more bargaining power in peace talks that Washington says must begin soon.
In 2015, the variance had killed tens of thousands of people since Saudi Arabia and its allies interfered. Millions have been pushed to the brink of famine, in what the US has explained as humanity´s most horrible humanitarian crisis.