Yemeni army commander killed in fighting outside Marib – Eurasia Review
By Saeed Al-Batati
A Yemeni army commander was among at least 100 fighters killed in the past 24 hours outside the central town of Marib, as Arab coalition warplanes stepped up airstrikes on targets Houthies, officials said.
General Nasser Al-Thaybani died while commanding government troops fighting Houthi incursions into the strategic Al-Balaq mountain range that overlooks part of the city.
“Hero General Nasser Al-Thaybani was martyred on Monday morning after a bullet from a Houthi sniper hit his head,” Rashad Al-Mekhlafi, a military official with the Department of orientation of the Yemeni armed forces.
He said the commander was leading the forces that pushed the Houthis back from the eastern parts of the mountain.
At least 100 Houthis have been killed in Marib province after troops mounted a counteroffensive against the militia, which made a rare foray into Al-Balaq after massively bombing loyalist locations over the weekend.
The troops expelled the Houthis from Al-Balaq and are now fighting them in the desert areas south of Marib, Al-Mekhlafi said. He added that the Houthis had mobilized elite forces to take control of Al-Balaq.
“The seizure by the Houthis of even a small part of Al-Balaq would pose a serious threat to Marib.”
The militia began attacking the town of Marib in February with the aim of fully controlling the northern half of Yemen, including the town’s oil and gas fields and a major power plant.
Despite the loss of thousands of fighters in combat or in coalition airstrikes, the Houthis have stepped up their ground, missile and drone attacks on the city.
Yemeni commanders said the Houthis were applying a human wave attack, a military tactic in which hundreds of their fighters attack troops defending the city.
The escalation of fighting in Marib came as UN envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg on Monday announced his visit to Muscat, where he discussed UN-brokered peace efforts to end the war with Omani officials and Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdul Sallam.
“He discussed ways to defuse violence in # Yemen and start a political dialogue aimed at reaching a comprehensive and inclusive settlement,” the envoy’s office tweeted.
Grundberg is expected to brief the UN Security Council on Tuesday on the results of his meetings with key Yemeni stakeholders inside and outside the country and regional and international officials.