Yemeni Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Maqdashi stressed that the battle against Iran-backed Houthi militias in the northeastern governorate of Marib is decisive.
During a field inspection, Al-Maqdashi told troops that Yemen’s people and armed forces are fighting against the terrorism of Iran and its Houthi militias and reaffirmed total rejection of transforming the war-torn country into a “Persian” colony.
The minister explained that plans for using Yemen to threaten the security of Arab nations and navigation in globally vital waterways are unacceptable.
He praised battleground progress achieved by Yemeni army forces and pro-government popular resistance with the backing of the Saudi-led Arab coalition against Houthis in Marib.
Col. Mohammad Jaber, the advisor to the joint operations for tribal affairs commander, accused the militias of exploiting the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence to mislead Yemenis to join Marib battlefronts.
Several sources based in the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa and the northeastern governorate of Dhamar have confirmed that the militias are ramping up troops and deploying them to fight in Marib’s Sirwah and Al-Mushaja cities.
The Houthi military buildup is unprecedented and poses a severe threat, Jaber told Asharq Al-Awsat, but confirmed that “Houthi skulls will only be crushed in Marib.”
Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Saghir bin Aziz is leading army forces in Marib, where over a million internally displaced Yemenis had sought safety from the ongoing war.
“We advise tribesmen in Houthi-controlled areas to save their children,” said Jaber, pointing out that the militias are using Yemenis as cannon fodder.
Houthi sectarianism is being reflected in the militias’ battlefield conduct, he revealed, reporting that it only negotiates to retrieve the bodies of Hashemite combatants who died in action.
“In the battle of Sirwah and Al-Balq, the Houthi death toll was tremendous, so they sent tribesmen to mediate taking back the bodies,” said Jaber.
Out of around 300 dead combatants, mediators only negotiated the recovery of 13 - all Hashemites.
“Therefore, we categorically refused and called the Red Cross to take all the bodies,” said Jaber.