Saudi-led coalition captures army barracks as Taiz battle intensifies

A fifteen-day battle to capture an important military base to the east of Taiz was concluded in Yemen on Sunday, after Saudi-led coalition forces overpowered rebel fighters.

Government troops reportedly killed 20 rebel Houthi fighters during a prolonged attack on Taiz, east Yemen on Sunday night, while also reporting four casualties.

The battle for Taiz intensified last week as coalition forces made an offensive to take control of the city’s east from the country’s Houthi rebels.

Coalition forces have been fighting for more than fifteen days to retake key military sites to the east, including the presidential palace, two hill stations and a military camp.

“We liberated the main gate to the camp and a number of buildings inside the walls of the camp to the east of the city,” Major General Khalid Fadel, the commander of the Taiz military center, reported on Facebook.

Earlier in the day, an unnamed military commander had prematurely announced capturing the military camp, before his troops were forced to retreat temporarily.

Meanwhile, Taiz Governor and member of parliament, Ali Maamari, reported a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the area, describing recent events as “dangerous” and “disturbing”.

One coalition military commander who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The New Arab that government artillery had shelled the surrounding area indiscriminately, including areas known to have been populated by civilians.

According to medical sources in the city, government fighters have shelled civilian neighbourhoods in the east, west and centre of the city for a number of days.

The areas that were reportedly captured by coalition fighters on Sunday are considered to be strategic regions because rebel fighters had launched damaging rocket strikes from these locations.

The battle for Taiz began in April 2015 after several army brigades defected away from the government to join the Houthi rebels.

This defection triggered heavy and indiscriminate airstrikes across the city by the Saudi-led coalition, causing one of the highest civilian death counts in the country’s ongoing civil war.​

More than 10,000 people, half of which civilians, have been killed since Yemen’s conflict escalated with the Saudi-led coalition intervention in March 2015.