Yemen’s government is working to build a new military and political coalition to fight the Iranian-backed Houthi group, Sky News Arabia reported.
“There is no political or popular cover for the Iranian-backed Houthi militias,” Foreign Minister Abdul Malik Al-Mekhlafi said, adding that Yemeni forces are making progress in Shabwa governorate and west coast fronts.
The new alliance formation comes off the back of the Houthi group’s latest activity in Sana’a, following the killing of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In a push to retake territory from the Houthi group, the national army of UN-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has been joined by former loyal to the late Saleh. Last week, the new coalition retook the region of Khokha, a district of 122 kilometres south of the vital Red Sea port of Hudaydah from the Houthis.
In addition to Saleh forces, the army now also includes support from the UAE-backed forces, including the Southern Transitional Council’s forces. The Tihama tribe, located on the western coast of Yemen has also joined the fight against the Houthis in a bid to force the group back to the northern governorate of Saada and retake Hudaydah.
The Yemen civil war erupted in 2014 when the Houthi group, alongside Saleh’s forces, took over the capital Sana’a. Hadi was forced to request support from a Saudi-led coalition to neutralise threats posed by the Houthi-Saleh alliance in March 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition continues to target and support the new coalition in Yemen with air strikes. The latest strike hit a Yemeni wedding party yesterday.
In the midst of changing conflict dynamics, and the weakening of the Saleh forces, negative sentiments against the Houthi group increased as a result of the mass arrests, killings and raids in the capital.
The Houthi group is under threat in Taiz, in the west of the country. Last week, the new coalition drove the Houthis out from Bayhan, an area which links Shabwa and Marib to the north.