Written by Staff Writer, CNN London
Marib, Yemen, is facing war fears.
A Russian naval base, the city’s oil fields and a water supply hub have seen their water supplies devastated by war and while the city is still holding out against advancing Houthi forces.
Yemen’s army is being seriously criticized for not acting decisively against the rebel group that is fighting Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the north of the country.
Marib is home to a Russian naval base
On December 21, the Houthis launched an attack against Marib, which was first reported by Reuters.
“(Yemeni forces) have retreated back into the mountains, abandoning their position in the center of the town,” the Yemeni news agency Saba reported.
If this report is true, the fall of the government’s principal stronghold would be a serious setback.
Cumulative casualties from Saudi-led coalition airstrikes over the last week have been reported to have climbed to nearly 1,000.
Marib is described as a strategic strategic city, located in a region home to oil fields and key irrigation works and home to a Russian naval base.
A previous attack in 2012 saw government soldiers lose the city before the militia pulled out and fled the area.
Yet the Houthis struck the city again early Tuesday, forcing government troops out.
“There are clashes going on inside the city and other places around it, there are Houthi tanks, they’re moving toward the town and the army forces nearby are deploying to the western end of the town,” Hamza Hussain, an advisor to Yemen’s deputy president told Reuters.
“Marib city has mostly been under the government’s control since 2012 and we’re expecting many casualties,” Marib provincial governor Ahmed Al-Bajabri told Reuters.