Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Reinforcements loyal to the former Yemen government arrived in Hudaydah for an offensive to retake the port city from Houthi rebels.
Pro-government forces have made progress in recent days, despite the presence Houthi snipers, landmines and booby-trapped buildings, Xinhua reported Wednesday.
The port city is vital to delivering humanitarian aid to millions of Yemenis, who experts say are on the brink of the worst famine in world history.
The pro-government forces are supported by a coalition backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. U.S. officials are pushing for a cease-fire they hope will give way to peace talks.
If the Houthi rebels are driven from Hudaydah, that could force them to the negotiating table. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of smuggling in weapons for the Houthi through the port city.
The United States has provided mid-air refueling for Saudi-led airstrikes, but that abruptly stopped last week. There were concerns about the bombings killing civilians, and the Saudi royal family's possible involvement in the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In U.S. Congress, Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to end U.S. support for the Yemen conflict. The war powers resolution was supported by several top Democrats.
"It is disappointing to me that we are trying to hide from this debate ... and also a larger debate on what should our policy be toward Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
The GOP has the majority in the House for now, but Democrats will assume command later this month.