Sunday, January 8, 2017

Yemen: Saudi Coalition advance into Houthi territory

(Aden)   Yemeni Government forces launched an assault on Saturday to recapture the coastal Dhubab district, just 30km north of Bab al-Mandab, which links the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The offensive was launched from Bab Al Mandeb, which is under government control, with five brigades under the command of former defence minister Haitham Taher and deploying armoured vehicles supplied by the UAE. Houthi rebels are  in retreat after targeted air strikes enabled ground forces to advance and liberate Dhubab, Al Mansoura and the Al Omri Mountains in western Taez province. However clashes continued on Saturday around Al Omri military camp near Dhubab and it remained unclear whether the rebels had been completely dislodged after putting up fierce resistance, with many wounded on both sides. At least 55 Houthis have been killed in the fighting and 72 others wounded .Clashes since Saturday have also killed 13 loyalists forces, including an army general, Land mines planted by the rebels have slowed down the advance of government forces.

The government and its allies in a Saudi-led coalition recaptured Bab al-Mandab in October 2015, pushing the Iran-backed rebels further north. However the rebels still control nearly all of Yemen's Red Sea coast to the north, posing what the coalition says is a threat to international shipping by their use of anti-ship missiles which has seen two US warships and a United Arab Emirates vessel contracted to the coalition targeted by missile fire from rebel-held territory.

Government troops seized Dhubab in early October 2015, but the Houthis managed to recapture the area in February 16.

November 28, 2016
The Houthis and their political allies formed a new government. A Hadi spokesman deemed the move "a disregard not just for the Yemeni people, but also for the international community".

The Saudi-led coalition claimed that 172 people were killed and 686 wounded due to indiscriminate shelling in Taiz by pro-Houthi forces during the month of November.

Pro-Hadi troops captured the Alab border crossing, which is one of two border crossings between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Sa'dah province. The second crossing, Al Baqqa, had already been taken by pro-Hadi troops previously. The fighting spread the following day to the nearby Mandabah mountain. Pro-Hadi forces also claimed that the Houthis had withdrawn from the port town of Maydee. However, fighting was still being reported around the town 15 days later.

An IS suicide bomber killed between 48 and 50 soldiers and wounded around 70 at a base in Aden.

Al-Qaeda captured a mountain in Bayda province and claimed to have also seized an area of the Rada district from pro-Houthi forces.

Eighteen Houthi fighters were reportedly killed in fighting in Taiz, while Houthi forces attempted to recapture a hill overlooking the Sirwah airport in Marib province, which they had recently lost.

An IS suicide bomber killed between 49 and 52 soldiers and wounded between 34 and 60 in Aden while they were collecting their salaries.

Houthi fighters managed to temporarily capture a hilly air-defense base on the western edge of Taiz, before they were forced to retreat the following morning. Pro-Hadi forces claimed 41 Houthi fighters were killed, while they lost nine. Meanwhile, pro-Hadi forces reportedly captured Mandabah mountain on the Yemeni-Saudi border.

Seven Pakistani crew members of an Iranian cargo ship were killed when their ship was sunk in a rocket attack off the coast of Yemen.

Saudi artillery and helicopter strikes on the Saudi-Yemeni border reportedly killed at least 30 pro-Houthi fighters, while the US military reported 28 Al Qaeda militants were killed in nine strikes between September 23 and December 13 in Yemen.

Pro-Hadi forces captured several areas in the Nihm district northeast of Sana'a.

Twenty-eight Houthi and 12 pro-Hadi fighters were reportedly killed in fighting in the southern province of Shabwa when pro-Hadi forces launched an offensive against Baihan. Fighting also took place at nearby Usaylan. Pro-Hadi forces claimed to have made advances during the offensive.

Pro-Hadi troops reportedly captured three regions of the Usaylan district in Shabwa province and were trying to push towards Baihan. At least 10 Houthi fighters were killed in the fighting.