A soldier walks at Red Sea port of Hodeidah
© REUTERS / Abduljabbar Zeyad/File Photo
A soldier walks at Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, May 10, 2017
Yemeni government forces have blocked a strategic highway located between the western port city of Al Hodeidah and the capital of Sanaa, a source in the local administration told Sputnik on Wednesday.

The source said that the government forces had taken up a position 12 kilometers (7 miles) east of Al Hodeidah and "blocked the strategic Al Hodeidah-Sanaa highway after fighting against Houthi militants with the support of intensive [Saudi-led] coalition airstrikes."

On June 13, the Yemeni government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive to seize the port of Hodeidah from the Shia Houthi rebels. The operation continued despite the UN warnings of a possible humanitarian catastrophe. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths held talks with the Houthis in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, but failed to persuade the rebels to withdraw from al Hodeidah.

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