Yemeni government forces have pushed back two consecutive military attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militias in the western province of Hodeida, as the government warned of the potential collapse of the Stockholm Agreement, local media said on Wednesday.
Troops from the Joint Force, a gathering of three major military units in Hodeida including the Giants Brigades, National Resistance and Tehama Resistance, engaged in heavy fighting with the Houthis in Hodeida’s Ad-Durayhimi district.
The first Houthi attack began on Tuesday morning when rebels targeted government forces from outside Ad-Durayhimi with mortar and cannon rounds before advancing on the ground, triggering heavy clashes with loyalist forces. The clashes subsided in the afternoon when the Houthis retreated after failing to make any gains. On Tuesday night, the Houthis attacked government forces in Ad-Durayhimi again, local government media said.
Government forces responded with heavy shelling. Three loyalists were killed and several others were injured in the fighting.
The government also announced on Tuesday the downing of a Houthi explosive drone in Ad-Durayhimi. Joint Forces military commanders convened in Mocha on the Red Sea on Tuesday to discuss how to respond to Houthi assaults.
Elsewhere, government forces pushed back Houthi attacks on army locations at Al-Mahzamat in the northern province of Jawf. Loyalists also engaged in fighting with Houthis in the southern city of Taiz and Marib’s Serwah.
The attacks in Hodeida came as the internationally recognized government of Yemen warned that it might pull out of the Stockholm Agreement.
In New York, Yemen’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdullah Ali Al-Saadi, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the Stockholm Agreement had not achieved a cessation in fighting in the western province.
“It is regrettable that after more than one year, the agreement did not bring about anything. But it marked the beginning of a new level of escalation and further suffering,” he said.
The Yemeni government echoed those concerns about the threat of Houthi military activities in Hodeida and other contested areas.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the Yemeni Cabinet affirmed its support for peace efforts by the UN envoy to Yemen, and urged the international community to mount pressure on the rebels to quickly implement the agreement.
Local rights groups say that the rebels have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Hodeida since late 2018, when the Stockholm Agreement was ratified.