DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — More than 140 rebels and pro-government troops have been killed this week as fighting intensifies for Yemen’s strategic northern city of Marib, military and medical sources told AFP Friday.
At least 51 loyalists were killed in the past four days, most of them in clashes in the province of Shabwa and the neighboring governorate of Marib, multiple military sources said.
They added that at least 93 Iran-backed Huthi rebels also died in the fighting and from air strikes by the Saudi-led military coalition backing the government.
The Huthis rarely report casualty numbers, but figures were confirmed by medical sources.
The Huthis in February escalated their efforts to seize Marib, the government’s last northern stronghold, and the fighting has killed hundreds on both sides.
Control of the oil-rich region would strengthen the Huthis’ bargaining position in peace talks.
According to the military sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Huthis have made advances and seized four districts — one in Marib and three in Shabwa.
“Three districts in Shabwa have fallen in limited clashes and within hours,” one official told AFP.
Yemen’s conflict flared in 2014 when the Huthis seized the capital Sanaa, prompting Saudi-led intervention to prop up the internationally recognized government the following year.