DUBAI: Yemen’s Houthi rebels confirmed on Friday they had seized two districts in central Al-Bayda province, amid an ongoing battle for control of the government stronghold of Marib further north.

Operations have led to “the liberation of the Naman and Nateh districts” in Al-Bayda, Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said in a statement carried by the rebels’ Al-Masirah television.

The Houthis are in the “process of clearing out the remaining pockets in Al-Bayda province after liberating most areas”, he added.

The announcement comes after the country’s warring sides deployed reinforcements to the nearby district of Bayhan earlier this week.

The possible fall to the rebels of Bayhan, located in Shabwa province and strategically near the border with Marib, could pose a major threat to the government. A government military source told AFP on Monday that fighters from both sides were dispatched to the outskirts of Bayhan after the Houthis seized Nateh and Naman.

Al-Bayda’s deputy governor told AFP that the insurgents had taken control of the two districts, displacing many civilians.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2021

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