Spotlight: Houthis rebels pose no serious threat to gov't-controlled southern provinces - Xinhua

DHALEA CITY, Yemen, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Pro-government Yemeni forces managed to abort a well-prepared Houthi plan for advancing militarily towards a number of key southern provinces following months of intense fighting.
Various factions of pro-government forces including the elite Giants Brigades and the southern Resistance forces engaged in ferocious armed confrontations with the Houthi rebels in the northern parts of Dhalea province.
The ferocious armed confrontations mainly occurred in the country's southern province of Dhalea that is considered as the main gate for other main southern cities including Aden, Yemen's temporary capital.
During the past months, the Houthis advanced rapidly and seized key districts in Dhalea but failed to stay longer or proceed advancement further into other government-controlled provinces as they planned previously, according to pro-government army officials.
The Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened through supporting the on-ground pro-government forces and mobilizing thousands of newly-recruited army soldiers from different southern provinces including Aden.
The months-long intense fighting resulted in recapturing Qataba district that's located in Dhalea's northern part and forcing Houthi fighters to withdraw back instead of advancing on-ground.
Xinhua visited the frontlines near Qataba and exclusively interviewed a number of pro-government military commanders who confirmed that the Houthi rebels are posing no serious threat to the government-controlled southern provinces after aborting their military plan.
Brigadier Abdul-Wahed Shairy, a senior commander of the 1st Resistance Army Brigade, told Xinhua that Houthis lost the battle and withdrew back to far positions located on the outskirts of Dhalea after suffering heavy losses.
"As you noticed, our brave soldiers are now making great progress on-ground after after foiling the Iranian-backed Houthis plan," said Abdul-Wahed.
"Good news is coming during the next days, as we are preparing to launch military operations an advance into the other northern provinces to expel all the Shiite rebels from there," said the army official.
Scores of young army fighters from other southern provinces including Lahj, Aden and Abyan headed to the frontlines in Dhalea to participate in the fighting against Houthis and protect their territories.
"We came from Lahj to join the fighting alongside with our brothers here in Dhalea and ready to continue the military operations until liberating the country's whole northern provinces," said an army soldier named as Ali Radfany.
The pro-government Yemeni forces stationed in Dhalea's borders expressed gratitude for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that launched a series of airstrikes against the positions of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
They attributed the recent military advancement and foiling the Houthi incursion to the Saudi-led coalition that stand with them and backed them militarily.
"We deeply appreciate the role the Saudi-led coalition particularly the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that air-covered our forces and helped us in achieving this victory," said Walid Shairy.
An intelligence source confirmed to Xinhua that "Houthis won't give up and started in mobilizing large tribal fighters from the country's northern provinces to repeat attacking the government-controlled southern provinces."
"Houthis want to take revenge for the defeats they suffered in the country's southern provinces in 2015 and this year," the source said anonymously.
Meanwhile, fighting between the two warring rivals is still ongoing and expanding further to include new areas on the northern outskirts of Dhalea near Qataba.
Houthis sporadically fire rockets and artillery shells that land randomly on residential neighborhoods of Dhalea city.
In April, the Iranian-allied Houthi fighters launched a series of intense armed attacks on the positions of government forces and succeeded in seizing the district of Al Husha in the west of Dhalea.
The areas in the north and west of Dhalea, 138 km north of Aden, have been witnessing non-stop fighting between government forces and Houthi fighters for about four years.
Yemen has been plagued by a civil war since late 2014 after Houthi rebels revolted and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.



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