Yemeni officials and witnesses say pro-government troops have retaken most of the strategic province of Lahj, once the main base in southern Yemen of Shiite rebels.

Wednesday's development in Yemen's civil war is the latest battlefield success by the Saudi-backed pro-government forces in southern Yemen.

The officials say the rebels, known as the Houthis, appeared to have lost most of their heavy weapons in a battle Monday to defend the key military base of al-Anad in Lahj.

There were no immediate reports on casualties from the fighting in Lahj. Witnesses say the remaining rebels in Lahj have taken refuge in surrounding farmland.

Houthi officials couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.