A senior Yemeni military commander was among 28 troops killed in fighting between government forces and Huthi rebels for the strategic city of Marib, defense ministry sources said Monday.
“Nasser al-Zubiani, head of the government forces’ military operations, was killed along with 27 other soldiers during clashes with the Huthis in the past 24 hours south of Marib,” one source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
A second source confirmed Zubiani’s killing and the death toll.
Government forces and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been locked for months in a fierce battle for Marib, the government’s last stronghold and capital of the northern oil-rich province of the same name.
Fighting has escalated in recent weeks with thousands killed from both sides as a Saudi-led military coalition backing the government ramps air strikes on the rebels.
The rebels began a major push to seize Marib city in February and, after a lull, they renewed their offensive in September.
The Saudi-led coalition has been reporting high death tolls in almost daily strikes against the Houthis since October.
Yemen’s grinding conflict, which erupted in 2014, has displaced millions, and more than 80 percent of the population of around 30 million require humanitarian assistance.
A UN Development Programme report last month said the war will have claimed 377,000 lives by the end of the year through both direct and indirect impacts.
Nearly 60 percent of deaths will have been caused by consequences such as lack of safe water, hunger, and disease, it said, suggesting that fighting will have directly killed over 150,000 people.