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Yemeni Army Advances In Saada | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemen’s northwestern city of Saada taken in May 2015/ Reuters

Aden, Jeddah – Informed Yemeni sources asserted on Sunday that the National Army has advanced in the Saada province northern Yemen, the basic stronghold of Houthi rebels.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the National Army forces were able to recuperate the strategic region of Mandaba overlooking the Baqim district, one of the most important Houthi strongholds in the area.

Amid the military developments, Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi returned on Sunday to Aden following a short visit to the UAE. Sources close to the Yemeni presidency told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hadi’s return does not only aim to follow up Yemen’s field developments, “but also aims to organize the internal state in light of the rebels’ insistence not to respect international resolutions and to foil all attempts to reach peace in the country.”

Meanwhile, other Yemeni sources reported that large forces from the National Army and the Coalition were getting prepared to conduct a wide operation in the southwestern coast with an aim to remove rebel militias from the area of Zhabab, near Bab al-Mandeb, and the surrounding areas before reaching the district of Khawkha in Al-Hudaydah governorate.

Local sources in Al-Hudaydah said that the coalition jets destroyed three military boats in the Salif port, which is considered the rebels’ base for military operations near the Yemen-Saudi borders. They said a number of militias were killed and injured.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat the Yemeni Army and the Coalition were also planning to control the entire Yemeni shores, and have started on Sunday deploying their forces along the southern coastline of Shabwah province.

Khaled Al-Azhmi military commander in Balhaf told Asharq Al-Awsat that the aim of the security forces in the port city of Balhaf was to protect the port based on an advanced plan between the Arab Coalition, the legitimate forces and the Resistance. The security forces also aim to keep the trafficking port closed and to limit the smuggling of Africans from the shores of Shabwah.

In a separate development, Houthi rebels have cancelled the National anthem at schools located in the areas under their control. The rebels also forced students to sing a sectarian anthem known by the name of “Iranian Voice,” and they have also forced the heads of schools to fill students’ heads with sectarian speeches every morning before classes start.