Yemen crisis
Militants loyal to Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi patrol in the southern port city of AdenReuters

The recognised Yemeni government has appealed for armed intervention by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as Houthi rebels prepare to capture more cities in the southern region after seizing the strategically important city of Taiz.

The appeal came from Yemen's foreign minister Riad Yassin who is part of the effectively-exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi administration.

Speaking to the al Hadath news outlet, the sister channel of al Arabiya, Yassin said the GCC was actively considering Yemen's request.

"Yemeni authorities are working with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the [UN] Security Council to put an end to the Houthi expansion," he said, adding that the UN and the GCC should "intervene" to uproot the Houthis.

The GCC, a regional alliance, comprises Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain and has a combined military strength of about 40,000 troops.

The Houthi Shiite militias, fighting against the Sunni-dominated Hadi government, have overrun many cities in Yemen and are pressing ahead. The latest situation has raised fears that Yemen is gradually tipping over the edge just like Iraq, Syria and Libya due to the sectarian conflict.

Shortly after Yassin's appeal, Sunni-controlled Saudi Arabia pledged more help to the Yemeni government. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal also criticised Iran's alleged support to the Houthi Shiite groups.

"We are against Iran's intervention in Yemen ... it is actually an act of aggression," he said. "We are keen on protecting Yemen's sovereignty, the legitimacy of Yemen represented by President Hadi. We hope that the crisis can be resolved peacefully and we are ready to respond to any demand that the president requests, whatever it is to support him."

Both the Shiite-majority Iran, Saudi Arabia's rival in the region, and the Houthis have dismissed the claims that they are working together.

Meanwhile, the Houthis, who are primarily from the northern parts of Yemen, are gearing up to capture more areas in the south.

Mohammad Herbaj, a local official, said anti-Houthi forces including the troops supporting Hadi are bracing for further aggression by the rebels.

"Defending Aden and southern Yemen is not just the responsibility of popular committee members, it involves all southerners and everyone is getting prepared," he said.