22:10 GMT27 January 2020
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    CAIRO (Sputnik) - The next goal of the forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi will be to restore control over the seaport in the city of Hodeidah, Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdu Majali told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "The Houthis fled under massive airstrikes. The offensive continues. Our goal is the complete liberation of the city, the strategic goal is the liberation of the seaport," Majali said, confirming that the airport had been recaptured.

    He also noted that the Houthis were using the inhabitants of Hodeidah as human shields.

    "We want to save the lives of civilians. There are many residents in Al Hudaydah [Hodeidah]. We strive to provide safe areas for its residents, to act cautiously against Houthi militants who are using civilians as human shields," Majali stressed.

    Earlier in the day, local media reported that the Yemeni army had recaptured Hodeidah airport from Houthi rebels.

    According to a diplomatic source, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths left the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Tuesday after talks with the Houthi rebels on the crisis around the port city of Hodeidah failed to achieve any results.

    "The UN envoy has left Sanaa having achieved no progress in [solving] the issue of escalation in the province of Al Hudaydah [Hodeidah] in western Yemen and saving the city from hostilities amid Ansar Allah's demands to preserve its troops in the city," the source said.

    Last week, Griffiths called on the parties to the conflict to avoid further escalating tensions in Al Hudaydah [Hodeidah], adding that the United Nations was in contact with all the sides of the conflict.

    READ MORE: IOM Warns Offensive on Yemen's Hodeidah Port Putting 600,000 at Risk

    Earlier this month, the Yemeni government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive to seize Hodeidah from the rebel Houthi movement after the latter failed to respond to the government's offer to withdraw from the port city in order to peacefully resolve the conflict. Various international organizations and rights groups have called on the warring parties to exercise restraint amid increasing hostilities in the city.

    Yemen has been engulfed in an armed conflict between the government headed by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement since 2015. The Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf nations has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request since March 2015.


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