A popular uprising against the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) is under way in Yemen's Red Sea port of al-Hodeidah, as joint forces fighting in support of the government of President Adb Rabbu Mansour Hadi move in on the city.
The forces battling the Houthis -- the Yemeni military, Arab coalition, National Resistance Forces, Giant Brigades and Tihama Resistance -- are roughly 15 kilometres away from the city and 11 kilometres from its airport, officials said.
“The popular uprising in al-Hodeidah is against Houthi militias," said National Resistance Forces spokesman Col. Sadeq Duwaid. "The people categorically reject their coup, which is aimed at implementing Iran’s plans."
The joint forces have launched "carefully-planned military operations which disrupted the pro-Iran Houthi militias and undermined their ability to hold their positions", Duwaid said in an interview aired on Sky News.
This comes amid a mass flight of the Houthis' senior leaders towards the mountains and the collapse of their ranks, he added.
Commander of the Giant Brigades' 4th Battalion, Rami Saeed, said his forces and the joint forces seized many light and medium weapons and some rockets that the Houthis left behind after they fled.
“Our forces are clearing landmines and combing areas and farms around town in search of any Houthi presence, especially after the liberation of Zabid, al-Tuhayat and al-Durayhimi districts,” he added.
Houthis are in retreat
The Houthis are witnessing a major collapse, political analyst and journalist Rashad al-Sharabi told Al-Mashareq.
The joint offensive against them has been well planned, he added, noting that sufficient "material and human capabilities" are available to the pro-government forces.
In addition to the fighting forces, al-Sharabi said, the popular uprising of the people of Tihama against the Houthis will facilitate the elimination of the Houthi militias and reduce sacrifices and destruction in the port city.
It is likely that al-Hodeidah will be liberated from the Houthis during the last 10 days of Ramadan, according to Abdul Wali al-Mudhabi, manager of the General People’s Congress affiliated al-Yemen al-Youm television station.
“The success of the front was due to the good selection of fighters and the measures which were taken to unite ranks," he told Al-Mashareq.
These included "cancelling all military ranks and allowing all to enter as equal soldiers evaluated based on achievement and field competency", he said.