Thousands of civilians have been evacuating districts surrounding Hodeidah's airport Saturday as a Saudi-led coalition closes in on the Houthi-held city in Yemen, according to two sources.
The coalition has blocked most ports and allowed supplies into Hodeida in co-ordination with the UN.
Military and medical sources assured Efe that in last two days more than 300 troops belonging to both ranks of Huthi and Yemeni forces have perished during offensive, unable to break down numbers, and more than 550 suffered injuries.
The fear is that a protracted fight could force a shutdown of Hodeida's port at a time when a halt in aid risks tipping millions into starvation.
The Saudi-led coalition has imposed an air, sea, and land embargo on Yemen since March 2015, aiming to dislodge the Houthis from the territory they control, paralyzing trade and access to the country. It includes military forces from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and several Arab nations.
"I am deeply anxious about people who fled to Hodeidah city because their homes were under attack in other areas, " Saleem Al-Shamiri, the council's office coordinator Hodeidah, said from Yemen's capital, Sanaa.
He added that engineering teams are working at a fast pace to remove the mines which the Houthis randomly and heavily planted to delay the army and resistance forces from advancing. Another Yemeni commander, Abu Zarah al-Mahrami, was quoted by Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV network as saying that pro-government forces were "within meters" of the airport.
He did not speak to reporters on his arrival at Sanaa global airport.
Hodeida airport has been defunct since 2014, when Yemen's rebels seized the capital and drove the government south, prompting the intervention of Saudi Arabia and its allies six months later.
The Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's exiled government began its assault Wednesday on Hodeida, the main entry point for food into a country already on the brink of starvation.
Friday marked the third day of an offensive to retake Hodeida.
On the other hand, "the war against the Houthis in northern Yemen has resulted in Saudi Arabia's borders being regularly breached, missiles being fired at Saudi cities, worldwide shipping being threatened, and a humanitarian crisis", he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council in the 14-page report that debris from the missiles fired since July 2017 "share key design features with a known type of missile manufactured" by Iran. The port is the main way of providing the war-torn country with humanitarian aid.
The port city, which is the entry point for 70 to 80 percent of the food, medicine and aid supplies that enter Yemen, was previously controlled by Iranian-backed rebel forces.
The Security Council, the only United Nations body with the power to pass legally binding resolutions, on Thursday brushed aside a call by non-permanent member Sweden for a pause in fighting to allow for talks on a rebel withdrawal from Hodeida.
The battle for Hodeidah, by far the largest in the conflict, could have ramifications beyond the city of 600,000.
Human Rights Watch said Friday the battle for Hodeida could be disastrous for civilians across the country.
Ambassador to India Dr. Ahmed Al Banna said Friday that his country's government will take all measures necessary to help neighbouring Yemen free itself from the grip of terrorist groups like the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Daesh.
The UN Security Council has expressed its "deep concern" over the fighting and UN officials have warned of a risk of starvation.