Marib is vital because it is the internationally recognised government's last stronghold in North Yemen, and the country's sole gas producing region with one of its largest oilfields.
Houthis' territorial gains in Marib province come despite air strikes and fierce battles that the coalition claims has taken over 2,000 lives among the Iran-backed rebels in three weeks.
The loss of Marib would be a heavy blow for the Yemeni government, currently based in the southern city of Aden, and for its Saudi backers.
The Iran-backed Houthi assault on Marib not only threatens the UN-backed government’s last line of defense but also risks a dire humanitarian crisis.
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