Sana'a, Yemen - Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said late on Wednesday that government forces battling Shiite rebels in a northern province would adopt new tactics in a guerilla war with rebels, leading to the insurgents' subsequent defeat "within weeks."
"We will change our tactics and military strategies in chasing the elements of sabotage and rebellion," Saleh said.
He spoke to an army brigade in Sana'a about to be deployed to the battle field in Saada province, where the army is advancing on stronghold of the rebels. His remarks were published by the state media on Thursday.
The rebellion that began in mid-2004 is led by Shiite militants, known as Houthis.
"If the fighting is with regular troops, it would have been over in the first weeks or months, but we are facing a guerrilla war," the Yemeni leader said.
"We are confident that we will rid those areas (from rebels) within the next few weeks," he vowed.
The army widened its offensive against the rebels on the country's north-western borders with Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, blasting new rebel bases with airstrikes, the Supreme Security Committee said in a statement.
It said fighter jets shelled rebel positions in areas of Rahwa, al-Madraj, and al-Anad of Saada "inflicting huge losses in their ranks."
Government forces began a massive offensive on the rebels on August 11 with artillery and airstrikes on 10 districts of Saada province after the rebels took control of those districts.
Scores of insurgents, civilians and troops have been killed in the past two weeks. Tens of thousands have been displaced from their villages.
The rebels belong to the outlawed al-Houthi group, led by Abdul- Malik al-Houthi. They say they are revolting against the government corruption and its alliance with the United States.
Authorities accuse the rebels of seeking to restore the rule of the Zaydi royal family, known as imams, who were toppled by a republican revolution in northern Yemen in