Forces in the embattled northern Ethiopian region of Tigray say government forces and their allies have entered the strategic city of Shire, one of the biggest in the region, adding that they continue to engage in a “life and death struggle”.
On Monday, the Ethiopian government said it intended to control airports in Tigray.
“During war movement out of areas is natural” a statement by the Tigrayan rebel forces says.
It called the entering into Shire by the government “temporary”.
Fighting broke out in August after five months of relative peace and there are growing concerns that the humanitarian crisis is worsening with transportation of aid into the region suspended because of the renewed clashes.
Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes fearing the violence in the region, the Tigrayan forces statement says.
Tigrayan forces have called on the international community to “fulfill its duty and stop the hostilities”.They also called on Tigrayans to continue fighting “in this crucial phase of the conflict”.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday said that the situation in Tigray was “spiralling out of control” and hostilities must end immediately.
But the violence has continued and there are unconfirmed reports of government forces entering multiple smaller towns in southern Tigray as well.