The latest strikes by the Saudi-led coalition bring to around 2,000 the number of Houthis killed around Marib since October 11.

The Houthis began a major push to seize Marib in February, and have renewed their offensive since September after a lull. (FILE PHOTO) (April 26, 2021.) (Reuters)

The Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government has killed 95 Houthi rebels in air strikes near the strategic city of Marib, as fighting pushes more people into displacement.

A statement on Thursday said the coalition carried out 22 operations targeting rebels in two districts near Marib that “killed 95 terrorists and damaged 11 military vehicles”.
The latest bombing was carried out in Al-Jawba, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Marib, and Al-Kassara, 30 kilometres to the northwest.

The latest strikes would bring to around 2,000 the number of Houthis the coalition says it has killed around Marib since October 11.

The Iran-backed rebels rarely comment on losses, and AFP could not independently verify the toll.

Marib, capital of the oil-rich province of the same name, is the internationally recognised government’s last bastion in northern Yemen.

The Hputhis have claimed to be tightening their grip around Marib city.

‘Only a matter of time’

“Our forces have reached the vicinity of the city of Marib, which is nearly surrounded,” said Mohammed Nasser Al-Atefi, who serves as defence minister in the Houthis’ unrecognised government in Sanaa, west of Marib, according to the Al-Akhbar Lebanese daily.

He added that it is “only a matter of time” until they seize it.

The Yemeni civil war began in 2014 when the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa, 120 kilometres west of Marib, prompting Saudi-led forces to intervene to prop up the government the following year.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The Houthis began a major push to seize Marib in February and, after a lull, they have renewed their offensive in recent weeks.

Massive displacements

Tens of thousands have been displaced in the province this year, including nearly 10,000 in September alone, the UN’s migration agency IOM told AFP Thursday.

“From January 1 to September 30, IOM recorded more than 55,000 people displaced in Marib governorate in the areas where our displacement tracking and rapid response teams have access,” the International Organization for Migration has said.

Marib city had between 20,000 and 30,000 inhabitants before the war but its population ballooned to hundreds of thousands as Yemenis fled frontline cities for its relative stability.

But with about 139 refugee camps in the province, according to the government, hosting approximately 2.2 million people, many displaced civilians have become caught in the line of fire once again.

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