A tribal fighter loyal to Yemen's government squats on the side on a slope at the frontline of fighting against Houthi militants in the central province of Marib.
Dubai - The Saudi-led Arab coalition forces retook Sirwah town after fierce battles with the Houthi militia and forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition forces are on track to liberating the most strategic areas in Yemen from the grip of Houthi militias and pro-Saleh forces, said Staff Brigadier Ali Saif Al Kabi, Chief Commander of the Coalition Forces in Marib.
He was speaking to Sky News Arabia after retaking Sirwah town, west of Marib, after fierce battles with the Houthi militia and forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Brig Al Kabi said a number of Houthi militiamen have been killed and taken prisoner during the battle.
"The fall of Sirwah means a lot to the legitimate Yemeni forces, the Arab coalition forces because Sirwah is considered the last strategic supply route in the enemy hands." He said, adding that it also meant the retreat of enemey forces northward.
Ali Al Zekri, an expert in Yemen affairs, told Khaleej Times that Sirwah is strategically very important because it opens the west door of Sanaa, and connects Al Kuf camp and other military zones in the area.
Tribes living in Sirwah support the legitimate government of Yemen - a fact the coalition forces can liverage on in order to march towards Sanaa.
The battle for Sirwah started three days ago. The coalition forces managed to liberate places like Tabat Al Masariya, the Dam area, Al Fao farms, Al Jafina, Al Taba Al Hamra and Tabat Al Qanasah.
Pressure on the enemy was ongoing, Brig Al Kabi said, adding that enemy forces were seen running helter-skelter, mostly fleeing to the north and surrounding mountains.
"The route to Sanaa, most likely, has been secured especially after the fall of Sirwah and cutting off the supplies line to the enemy."
"Civilians have returned to Sirwah after hearing the good news of exercising full control over the county, Brig Al Kabi noted.
"Some urgent relief materials have been distributed among local inhabitants and, God willing, we will keep providing dwellers with relief materials until their living conditions are improved."
Earlier, eyewitnesses said the Houthis militias and Saleh forces have fled in large numbers from Marib, which was their last stronghold.
The early hours of Tuesday saw their withdrawal from Fadhat Nahm, a locality close to the capital Sanaa after the Arab coalition forces and the Yemeni army moved into the capital.
Military sources loyal to the government of Yemen assured that the army, stationed at the first military zone in Hadhramaut, have also thwarted an attack on the Masila oil field by some armed militias of Al Qaeda. Some of them were killed and injured in the counterattack, they added.
The coalition air forces continued its air sorties, pounding the Houthis militias and pro-Saleh forces at Al Hudaidah governorate, targets along the western coastal strip, and at different areas at Saada governorate.