Houthis’ end near: Defected minister

Former Yemeni Houthi-led rebels’ information minister Abdul Salam Ali Jaber gives a press conference about his defection at Yemen’s embassy in Riyadh on Sunday. — AFP

By Maryam Al-Saghir

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — Former information minister of Houthi militias Abdul Salam Ali Jaber, who defected and fled to Riyadh, revealed that he was among the team that conducted a “disinformation campaign” in Yemen.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Jaber said that Houthis were being supported by Iran and other countries.

He said he was happy to defect from the militia and join the Yemeni national forces.

“Our arrival in Riyadh opens wider doors to work to restore the legitimacy of Yemen, the homeland that suffered a catastrophe that exceeded the ability of Yemenis to tolerate the practices of the de facto authority in Sanaa,” he said, referring to the Houthi militias which took control of Sanaa in 2014.

“We thank the leadership of the government for what they have done to secure our travel from Sanaa to Aden and from Aden to Riyadh.”

Jaber said that since Sept. 21, 2014, Yemen has been under a state of repression following the Houthi takeover. “The people have been subjected to Houthi domination; what is happening in Yemen now is more dangerous than a coup. “

“We were forced to work for the coup government. But the coupists are now in their last days,” he added.

Differences will appear among the Houthi centers of power, Jaber said, stressing that their end is imminent.

Meanwhile, a street war broke out for the first time on Sunday in eastern Hodeida after Yemeni forces managed to clear it from the Houthi militias.

Military officials said the legitimate forces were clearing residential areas in the eastern part of the city from the Houthi rebels. Technical teams continue to clear mines placed by the militias in civilian areas.

Pro-government fighters moved into the neighborhood between the May 22 hospital — the largest in Hodeida — and Sanaa Road, which links the port city to inland Yemen.

Fighters clashed around the Al-Waha (Oasis) Resort hotel complex, closing in on a civilian district located south of the hospital and north of Sanaa Road.

Hodeida is a vital lifeline for Yemenis across the war-torn country, as the majority of imports and humanitarian aid enter through its port.

Govt forces dislodging Iranian-backed militias from seized areas