The two strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha have been recaptured by the Ethiopian forces from rebellious Tigrayan forces.
The government disclosed this on Monday, the latest sign of the government retaking territory it recently lost.
Dessie and Kombolcha lie in the Amhara region on a key highway to Addis Ababa, and their reported capture by the Tigray People’s Liberation Force (TPLF) in late October had sparked fears the rebels would be marching on the capital.
They are also less than 250 miles away from the Tigrayan capital Mekele.
The government’s communications service said on Twitter that “the historic Dessie city and the trade and industry corridor city Kombolcha have been freed by the joint gallant security forces,”
The government’s communication service that announced the victory has also reported gains in the past week in both the Amhara and Afar regions that border Tigray.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office also said last week federal forces had recaptured the town of Lalibela. According to reports, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is back in government hands.
All of the gains have been reported after Abiy left the capital to direct fighting from the frontlines.
Tigrayan forces said last week that they were making strategic adjustments on the battlefield, without providing details about why or how.
The year-long war between the federal government and the leadership of the northern region of Tigray has killed thousands of civilians, forced millions to flee their homes, and made more than 9 million people dependent on food aid.
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