Military rejects Ansar Al-Sharia cease-fire offer
A military source near Zinjibar told the Yemen Times on Sunday that clashes are ongoing, pointing out that the military had gained control of several areas in Abyan, including a large portion of Jaar, the main stronghold of Ansar Al-Sharia.
The source pointed out that the military had failed to make such progress in past months.
The source added that two days ago the military shelled Ansar Al-Sharia strongholds, leaving dozens of militants dead, the corpses of whom remain at the scene.
Another military source in Abyan said the 25th Mechanized Brigade, 39th Armored Brigade and the people’s committees recaptured all militant-held positions in the east of Zinjibar, including Almaraqed and Almeshqasa.
The source told the Defence Ministry Website that the militants sustained heavy losses. About 62 militants were killed, most of whom are Somalis. Dozens were wounded while others fled, leaving weapons, vehicles and ammunition.
The source added that three soldiers were killed belonging to the 25th Mechanized Brigade and another belonging to the 39th Armored Brigade while several others were wounded.
Well-informed sources said President Hadi ordered the military to storm Jaar and Zinjibar in Abyan.
CNN website reported on Saturday, by way of a source in the Yemeni presidency, that Hadi gave commands to forces positioned on the outskirts of Jaar and Zinjibar to start an all-out offensive on these two cities held by Ansar Al-Sharia since last May.
“Intensified air attacks on Ansar Al-Sharia strongholds are planned to be launched in order to reduce the ability of Ansar Al-Sharia snipers,” the source said.
Similarly, a military source in the 135th Infantry Brigade revealed to Ansar Al-Thawra (supporters of revolution) News Website that the military controls some positions around Jaar and is still progressing.
On Saturday the military controlled several hills overlooking Jaar and seized large quantities of weapons which Ansar Al-Sharia left behind when fleeing.
The military source asserted that Jaar is just two kilometers away from the areas controlled by the military. He affirmed that the military will keep battling the militants until purging Jaar entirely.
Official military sources in Abyan told the United Arab Emirates-based Gulf Newspaper that Ansar Al-Sharia pledged to release captured soldiers and civilians, along with a Swiss female tourist, captured two months ago, on the condition that the military troops stop shelling their strongholds in Zinjibar and Jaar.
However, the military troops rejected the offer of Ansar Al-Sharia and also warned them not to assault the Saudi hostage and the Swiss female teacher who were both abducted almost three months ago and also demanded an unconditioned release of the military and civilian abductees.
The sources expect that the military forces and the people’s committees will free Zinjibar and Jaar entirely from the militants in three days at the most.