Yemeni forces have advanced on the southern gates of the central Ma’rib city, pushing Saudi-backed militants loyal to former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi further back.
According to Lebanon’s al-Akhbar daily on Friday, Saudi forces and their mercenaries failed to stop Yemeni soldiers and their allies from making rapid advances on the southern flank of the provincial capital city.
Hadi loyalists have already withdrawn from most of their positions in the eastern and central parts of the Balaqin subdistrict over the past two days, despite intense airstrikes carried by Saudi warplanes in their support.
Al-Akhbar, citing local military and tribal sources, said Yemeni army troops and Popular Committees fighters have made major advances on the western outskirts of Falaj area after establishing control over all heights overlooking the region.
Sources close to pro-Hadi forces said their defeats appear to have been an inside job.
Pro-Hadi Ma’rib governor general Sultan al-Arada expressed his disappointment over unfolding developments in the province, confirming that the al-Balaq al-Awsat district and surrounding areas in Wadi al-Zannah region had been taken over by the opposite side.
On Thursday, four civilians were killed when Saudi border guards fired at a residential neighborhood in the Shada’a district of Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada.
A civilian was also killed and two others were injured when Saudi forces raided Raqou area in the Monabbih district of the same Yemeni province.
Furthermore, Saudi warplanes conducted more than a dozen air raids against al-Jubah and Sirwah districts in Ma’rib province.
The military aircraft also launched two airstrikes against the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a late Thursday,.
Economist: Saudis cannot find a way out of quagmire
International weekly magazine The Economist wrote in its new edition to be published Saturday that Saudi Arabia is growing desperate to end its disastrous war on its southern neighbor.
The report said while the Yemen conflict has become a “quagmire” for the Riyadh regime, and cost the kingdom untold billions and damaged its relations with key partners, the Yemeni forces think they are winning the conflict.
“The Saudis, by contrast, are growing desperate to end the war, if only for self-interested reasons. A conflict sold to the public in 2015 as a quick romp has instead become a quagmire, one that has cost the kingdom untold billions and damaged relations with key partners, particularly America. It has also invited frequent drone and missile attacks by the Houthis. The coalition says it intercepts 90% of attacks (a figure that is hard to verify). Still, a few have hit airports and other vital infrastructure,” the publication said.
“The Saudis are eager to cut their losses, but they cannot find a way to do so,” it added.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and other key Western powers, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.
Having failed to reach its professed goals, the war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases there.
Despite heavily-armed Saudi Arabia’s continuous bombardment of the impoverished country, Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.