Al-Qirbi's remarks come as the number of Yemenis fleeing the conflict and joining the newly created refugee camps of Saada province increases significantly.

Refugee hardship

Reporting from al-Mazriq refugee camp near Malahid, Al Jazeera's Ahmed al-Shalafi said thousands of Yemenis had arrived in recent days.

"They have lost hope for an end to the fighting. Both parties have demonstrated no commitment to the much-publicised truces that were supposed to allow entry of aid and avoid the deaths of civilians" al-Shalafi said. 
 
Rashid Khalikov, the UN official charged with co-ordinating humanitarian aid, told Al Jazeera of an urgent need to open safe passage for local and international NGOs aid agencies to deliever food to the displaced.

“We are looking for a better-operating environment to offer our services in conflict-hit areas. Many civilians are currently surrounded because of this conflict and we cannot access them," he said.

Civilian suffering

Against this backdrop of civilian suffering, the Yemeni national army said it had killed 18 Huthi fighters as they tried to infiltrate a region near al-Ahmar mountain in Saada, and arrested another five in Malahid.

Government forces are also advancing on Harf Sufian along multiple fronts, the military source confirmed.

In a separate incident, at least eight people were killed in a Yemeni air raid targeting a market in the Saada governorate, Al Jazeera's correspondent was told by locals in Saada.

Some 21 people were earlier killed in clashes between Houthi fighters and a pro-government tribe in Damaj district in southeast Saada.