Ethiopian forces on Saturday recaptured several towns, including Kobo and Waldia in the north, from Tigrayan rebels, the government announced.
The government communication service said pro-Abiy forces “have managed to fully control Sanqa, Sirinqa, as well as the cities of Waldia, Hara, Gobiye, Robit and Kobo”.
“The enemy force which escaped from destruction and was fleeing… is being followed by our allied forces,” it said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Since November 2020, there has been a war raging between forces loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group.
Abiy pledged a swift victory but the rebels mounted a shock comeback, recapturing most of Tigray by June before advancing into the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara, where Kobo and Waldia are located.
Starting late October, both sides claimed major territorial advances with several key cities apparently changing hands in the weeks since.
On Sunday, the rebels recaptured the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lalibela, 11 days after Ethiopian forces claimed to have retaken it from the TPLF.
The 13-month fierce fighting triggered a severe humanitarian crisis and prompted the UN top rights body to order an international probe into alleged abuses. Thousands of people have been left dead.
The fighting has displaced more than two million and driven hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions, according to UN estimates, with reports of massacres and mass rapes by both sides.