In the same meeting, Commander Abdul Hamid Al-Muzaini said the battle to liberate Yemen's Houthi-controlled capital was an irreversible option

Yemen army commanders discuss 'tactical withdrawal' from Nihm front amid fierce clashes 

Yemen’s Defense Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdashi met with military leaders in the internationally recognized government at dawn on Friday in Marib governorate to discuss field operations on the Nihm battlefront, northeast of Sana’a, which has been the scene of fierce clashes between the Houthis and the Yemeni army for about a week straight. 

At the meeting, the military brass reviewed field operations and "the process of securing the tactical withdrawal of some military units in some locations,” according to the state-run Saba News agency.

This is the first high-level military meeting since the outbreak of violent clashes in the Nihm, Serwah and Al-Jawf fronts that were precipitated by a missile attack by the Houthis on Saturday that killed more than 110 army soldiers. The rebels subsequently recaptured the strategic Al-Manara mountain, formerly held by Yemeni army forces. 

The commander of Saudi-backed coalition forces in Marib, Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid Al-Muzaini, said at the meeting that the battle to liberate the Houthi-controlled capital Sana'a was an irreversible option. Others attending the meeting included the Inspector General of the Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Adel Al-Qumairi, the commander of joint operations, Maj. Gen. Saghir bin Aziz, and the governor of Sana'a governorate, Major General Abdul Qawi Sharif.

The leaders stressed combat readiness for all military units to carry out operations as necessary.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hadhrami said that the Houthi military escalation in Marib, which happened during a visit by the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to Sana'a, is exploiting the Stockholm agreement and the corresponding ceasefire in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

"It is no longer possible for this dysfunctional situation to continue,” Al-Hadhrami said in a statement published by Saba News. 

"We will not allow the (Stockholm) agreement to be used to feed the absurd battles of Houthis on the fronts of their choice," he said, blaming the rebels for the collapse of peace efforts.

The UN-sponsored Stockholm agreement was made between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Houthis in December 2018 in Sweden. The agreement brokered a ceasefire in the port of Hodeidah and nearby Al-Salif and Ras Issa ports, as well as a prisoner swap and humanitarian aid access to the besieged city of Taiz.

The two sides agreed to refrain from any military action, escalation or any decisions that would undermine the chances of the full implementation of the agreement. 



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