This weekend saw fighting again raging across southern Yemen, with 29 people reportedly killed in Taiz, as fighting there between the Shi’ite Houthis and the pro-Saudi forces continued. Eight of those killed in Taiz were reportedly civilians, and no real territory in the area appears to have changed hands.
The real change in the war was farther south, in Dhalea and Lahj, where Houthi forces returned to areas they were previously pushed out of, and have suddenly returned in force. At least 30 were killed in fighting around Dhalea, though the offensive in Lahj appears to have gone off with no real resistance.
Pro-Saudi forces downplayed the sudden Houthi gains, the first in many weeks, and say they’re confident they have stalled the advance. Yet the shift in territory gives the Houthis control over an area not far from the pro-Saudi capital of Aden.
Also significantly, the Houthi gains allowed them to recover some of the Baab al-Mandaab coast, which may allow them to restrict the Saudi naval blockade’s movement between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Previous use of the area by Houthis to fire on the blockading ships was a big reason the Saudis pushed into the area in the first place.
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