ADEN, Yemen, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Forces loyal to Yemen's government launched heavy artillery attacks against several Houthi-controlled sites in the southern province of Dhalea on Friday, a military official told Xinhua.
The military official who preferred to be unnamed said that the government forces supported by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition stepped up their bombardment against several positions controlled by the Houthi rebels in the northwestern parts of Dhalea province.
He confirmed that significant military gains were made by the government forces on ground after recapturing three villages from the Houthis' control during earlier battles.
"The government forces advanced on-ground and now positioned in key border areas linking Dhalea with the Houthi-controlled province of Ibb in the country's center," he said.
Other military sources said that the advance came after a series of airstrikes launched by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition against the Houthi-controlled sites in Dhalea.
Houthis suffered heavy losses as a result of the intensified aerial bombardment carried out by Saudi-led warplanes, according to the local sources.
On Thursday, a senior commander of Yemen's pro-government forces along with two other officers were killed during armed confrontations with the Houthi rebels in Dhalea.
The Houthis fired mortar shells which landed on a military position and resulted in the killing of Saif Suqra, commander of the first pro-government army brigade on the province and two of his assistant officers, local sources said.
Both warring sides continued to mobilize large numbers of fighters to the frontlines in Dhalea amid armed confrontations which have lasted for weeks in the government-controlled province.
The areas in the north and west of Dhalea have witnessed continuous fighting between government forces and Houthi fighters for four years.
Yemen has been plagued by a civil war since late 2014 after Houthi rebels revolted and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.