Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Operation Golden Spear Liberates Yemen’s Key Port City | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemeni forces patrol a main road near Mocha on January 20, 2017. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP

Aden- National army units officially announced liberating the key port city of Mocha in Yemen’s Taiz Governorate. The whopping advance was a chief target achieved by phase one of the military coalition-backed operation ‘Golden Spear’. Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition freed the strategic Red Sea port city from Iran-aligned Houthis Monday afternoon.

Yemeni forces fighting in support of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the internationally-recognized authority, launched a vast offensive on January 7 to retake the Dhobab district overlooking the Bab Al Mandab strait, a key maritime route connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Restoring Mocha to government control curbed the proliferation of militias as coup factions had exploited the port city in order to secure the delivery of Iranian weapons to Houthis and allied loyalists fighting by the side of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The battle which restored Mocha into pro-legitimacy powers had also recorded grave losses on behalf of insurgency militias.

Many militants had surrendered to army units, while others fled the site, field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. More so, Houthi combatants would leave behind all those killed and injured, as well as artillery, while escaping the battlefield.

“The liberation of Mocha will push forward more advances—most important being the lifting of Taiz’s militia-imposed siege, said political analyst Rashad Ali al-Sharbaai.

“Liberating the rest of Taiz is a plus, not to mention that the main supply pipeline arming coup factions would be cut off,” he added.

Other analysts said that freeing Mocha has facilitated moving to the operation’s next target, Hodeidah, the largest port in the area controlled by Iran-backed militants.

President Hadi congratulated pro-government forces and the people of Yemen on the victory in Mocha, and urged the forces to push forth across the country’s many front lines – which until now have mostly fallen into stalemate – until they liberate the whole country from the rebels, the UAE’s state news agency, Wam, cited Yemen’s official Saba news agency as saying.