ALEXANDRIA: The Arab coalition on Wednesday pledged to provide continuous military support to the internationally recognized government in Yemen in its ongoing battle against the Iran-backed Houthis.
It came as Lt. Gen. Mutlaq Al-Azima, deputy chief of the general staff and acting commander of the joint forces, and Lt. Gen. Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdishi, Yemen’s defense minister, met to discuss military operations in the country and coalition support for government troops, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Dozens of Houthis were reportedly killed on Tuesday and Wednesday during intensive air raids by coalition warplanes targeting rebel locations and military reinforcements in Marib and Jouf provinces. Yemeni military officials said the airstrikes prevented the Houthis from advancing in those areas and helped government forces make limited gains.
Skirmishes between government forces and rebels broke out on the ground in several places in the two provinces as Houthi efforts to recapture Marib city continued. Yemen’s Defense Ministry said the Houthis suffered heavy casualties, with at least 15 killed, during an ambush by government forces in Al-Mashjah, west of Marib.
Fighting in the central Marib province escalated in February when the Houthis resumed a major military offensive in an attempt to conquer Marib city, the government’s last bastion in the north of the country.
Government forces on Wednesday made limited advances in the northern province of Jouf after driving the Houthis from the mountains and surrounding areas in the district of Bart Al-Anan.
On Tuesday, Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed appealed to the UN and other international donors to help the war-torn country cope with the rapid devaluation of its currency and an economic meltdown.
During a meeting in Riyadh with Cathy Westley, charge d’affairs of the US embassy in Yemen, Saeed called on global powers and aid organizations to allocate urgent funds to help his government implement plans to address the economic crisis and its dangerous repercussions on an already devastating humanitarian crisis, official Yemeni state news agency SABA reported.
The PM said his government’s current priorities are halting the depreciation of the nation’s currency, the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, and ending the Houthi coup.
After a brief recovery last week, the value of the Yemeni riyal slipped again on Wednesday on the black market, reaching a rate of 1040 to the dollar, compared with 950 during the rebound.
In an attempt to halt the slide in value and control a chaotic exchange market, the central bank in Aden recently shut down several unregulated exchange firms, told the others to follow monetary rules, and ordered commercial and Islamic banks based in Sanaa to move their operations to Aden.