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What’s the strategic significance of liberating Yemen’s Hays?

Liberating Hays marks a significant progress as it paves the way to liberating the rest of districts in Hodeidah. (Reuters)

Yemen’s army forces aided by the Arab coalition liberated all of Hays District which has a strategic position as it links the three governorates Hodeidah, Ibb and Taiz.

Liberating Hays marks a significant progress as it paves the way to liberating the rest of districts in Hodeidah, securing navigation in the Red Sea and cutting Iran’s supplies to Houthis, according to military experts.

Hays is the second district to be liberated in Hodeidah after al-Khoukhah ever since the launch of the military campaign to liberate the west coast in early December last year. The campaign was mainly launched to secure international navigation in the Red Sea and in Bab-el-Mandeb and to cut the last routes used to smuggle Iranian weapons to the Houthis.

Hays, south of Hodeidah, is 28 kilometers from sea. To its north are the al-Garrahi and Jabal Ra districts, to the south is Maqbanah in Taiz and to the west is al-Khoukhah. Its area is 268 km2 and according to 2004 statistics, its population is 45,436 people.

After they liberated the city, the Yemeni army set checkpoints on the route that links Hodeidah and Taiz thus cutting the Houthis’ supply route in the West.

Military sources said liberating Hays will paralyze the Houthis in the western areas they control in Taiz now that their only route of supplies through Hodeidah has been cut.

Yemeni army commanders said that after liberating Hays, their forces will head towards other areas such as al-Garrahi in the east and Zabid in the north until they reach Hodeidah and its strategic port which is still under Houthi control.

Around 30 Houthi militiamen were killed in the battle of liberating Hays on Monday, 13 others were detained while dozens handed themselves over, sources said, adding that the army also seized weapons which the militia left behind after they were deterred.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 6 February 2018 KSA 15:16 - GMT 12:16
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