Ethiopian army to 'encircle and shell' Tigray city
The Ethiopian troops have asked residents of the northern region of Tigray to "save themselves" as government troops advance on the capital, Mekelle.
The military intends to completely encircle the city - home to 500,000 people - with tanks and fire artillery, Col Dejene Tsegaye, who is a military spokesman, told state TV.
"Free yourselves from the junta... there will be no mercy," he remarked.
The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which solely controls this mountainous region, has promised to keep fighting.
TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael stated that his forces had successfully managed to stall advancing federal troops.
"On south front, they couldn't move an inch for more than one week. They [are] sending waves after waves but to no avail," he remarked.
The government also announced that its troops took over some important towns last week.
Nonetheless, information is difficult to verify and claims cannot be independently confimed because phone and internet connections have been down ever since the onset of the conflict.
The Tigray conflict has reportedly killed hundreds and also displaced thousands in the past few weeks. The UN has warned that it could potentially trigger a humanitarian crisis.
On Friday, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the appointment of three former presidents to be in charge of talks to put an end to the conflict.
However, Ethiopia has turned down the offer as it sees the operation as an internal "law enforcement" mission.
"We don't negotiate with criminals... We bring them to justice, not to the negotiating table," Mamo Mihretu, a senior aide to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated.