Yemeni Army makes gains in Jouf, Al-Bayda provinces

Local military commanders say their next goal is consolidating their positions around the military base before launching another offensive on Jouf’s capital Hazem, which fell to the Houthis last month. (File/AFP)
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Updated 08 April 2020

Yemeni Army makes gains in Jouf, Al-Bayda provinces

  • Government troops recaptured Labenat military base in Jouf

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: The Yemeni Army and allied tribesmen seized a military base in the northern province of Jouf, and a large swathe of land in the central province of Al-Bayda, following intense battles with Iran-backed Houthis, army commanders and government officials said on Wednesday.

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Iryani said government troops recaptured Labenat military base in Jouf and surrounding areas from the Houthis.

He added that Arab coalition warplanes and their military experts on the ground have played a key role in helping government troops take the upper hand on the battlefield.

Local military commanders say their next goal is consolidating their positions around the military base before launching another offensive on Jouf’s capital Hazem, which fell to the Houthis last month.

Col. Rabia Al-Qurashi, the army’s spokesman in Jouf, told Arab News on Wednesday that troops were stationed almost 10 km from Hazem as the Arab coalition targeted Houthi gatherings in the city to pave the way for the troops to storm it.

Al-Qurashi thanked the Arab coalition for its continued support, and said the Houthis suffered heavy blows in Jouf after failing to convince army officers and tribal leaders to switch sides.

In Al-Bayda, government forces seized a sprawling chain of mountains in Malajem and Natea after killing dozens of Houthi fighters on Tuesday.

State TV quoted Maj. Gen. Moufreh Al-Bouheh as saying government forces liberated Al-Ghader, Waled and Qaida mountains after a swift assault against the Houthis, at least 40 of whom were killed in the fighting.

The Arab coalition carried at least five air sorties, targeting Houthi military gatherings and reinforcements.

Backed by air support and military logistics from the coalition, Yemeni Army troops and allied tribesmen last week seized most of Helan, a chain of mountains from where the Houthis would shell residential areas in the densely populated city of Marib.
 


Syria Kurdish-led force launches new anti-Daesh campaign

Updated 05 June 2020

Syria Kurdish-led force launches new anti-Daesh campaign

  • Operations will focus on the vast east Syria desert near the border with Iraq

BEIRUT: US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria announced Friday a fresh campaign to hunt down remnants of the Daesh group near the Iraqi border following a recent uptick in attacks.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led paramilitary alliance that has spearheaded the ground fight against Daesh in Syria since 2015, said that the new campaign is being carried out in coordination with the Iraqi army and the US-led coalition.
“This campaign will target ISIS’s hideouts and hotbeds,” it said, using a different acronym for the militant group.
It said operations will focus on the vast east Syria desert near the border with Iraq where Daesh has conducted a spate of attacks in recent months.
Since the loss of its last territory in Syria in March 2019, Daesh attacks have been restricted to the vast desert that stretches from the heavily populated Orontes valley in the west all the way to Iraqi border.
It regularly targets SDF forces and has vowed to seek revenge for the defeat of its so-called “caliphate”.
The SDF, with backing from its coalition allies, launched a campaign to hunt down sleeper cells after it forced Daesh militants out of their last Syrian redoubt in the desert hamlet of Baghouz in March 2019.
A raid in October by US special forces killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant group which once controlled large swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria.
Last month, the United Nations accused the Daesh group and others in Syria of exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to step up violence on civilians, describing the situation as a “ticking time-bomb”.
Across the border in Iraq, Daesh has exploited a coronavirus lockdown, coalition troop withdrawals and simmering political disputes to ramp up attacks.
Iraq declared Daesh defeated in late 2017 but sleeper cells have survived in remote northern and western areas, where security gaps mean the group wages occasional attacks.
They have spiked since early April as militants plant explosives, shoot up police patrols and launch mortar and rocket fire at villages.