Yemen: Houthi rebels turn to defensive tactics, planting landmines within 10km of strategic town of Mocha

Yemen government forces and allied resistance fighters on Wednesday advanced deep into shrinking Al Houthi territory on the western coast and were battling the rebels 10 kilometres from the strategic Mocha town in Taiz province, army commanders and state-run media said.

Government forces have, since January 6, seized control of a large swathe of land in the west, including Al Ameri military camp, the Dhobab district and the Jadeed region on the Red Sea.

Major Mohsen Khasrouf, the chief of Yemen’s Armed Forces Moral Guidance Department, told Gulf News on Wednesday that the government forces had pushed Al Houthis further towards Mocha. “The government forces have stationed roughly 10km south of Mocha. We seek to liberate the entire western coast in Taiz and Hodeida provinces from Al Houthis,” Khasrouf said.

The rebel forces have turned to defensive tactics like planting a landmines in large numbers to slow the government forces’ advances, a sign that the once powerful militia has lost momentum in the war due to heavy air strikes and losses incurred in clashes with government forces, army commanders said.

If the government forces overrun Mocha in the coming days, the rebel forces would have lost a major entry point for bringing in arms from Iran and other suppliers.