Saudi-led forces advance towards Yemen’s besieged Taez

Fighters loyal to Yemen's government celebrate after they received three armoured personnel carriers from the United Arab Emirates in the southwestern city of Taez. (File photo: Reuters)

Saudi-led coalition forces advanced on Monday towards Yemen’s third city Taez after sending major reinforcements in a bid to break a months-long siege by Iran-backed militias, military officials said.

The move comes ahead of an expected offensive to retake the city, seen as a gateway to controlling the rebel-held capital, said the Yemeni officials.

Armored demining vehicles and other reinforcements arrived in the Shuraija region, between the loyalist-controlled Lahej province and Taez in the southwest, said officials in the main southern city of Aden.

Sudanese forces from the strategic al-Anad airbase in Lahej are taking part in the Taez operations, according to the sources.

Taez has seen heavy fighting in recent months between the Shiite Houthi rebels and forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government.

Loyalist forces are inside Taez, while the militias and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh control the main roads leading into the city.

Along the coast, coalition troops deployed in Dhubab in a bid to advance onto the Red sea city of Mocha, a part of Taez province which is under rebel control, the sources said.

On Sunday, military officials spoke of major coalition reinforcements of troops and equipment arriving to Taez from Aden.

Meanwhile, three pro-government fighters and two rebels were killed in clashes an area on the border between Taez and Lahej, military officials said, adding that loyalists managed to retake a hill overlooking the area.

Last Update: 10:00 KSA 13:00 - GMT 10:00