Houthis Retake Central Yemen Region From Pro-Saudi Forces

At Least 85 Killed in Three Days of Fighting

by Jason Ditz, June 02, 2016

Just days after pro-Saudi forces claimed to have seized significant territory in the Maarib and Shabwa Provinces¬† in central Yemen, in intense fighting that killed at least 69 people last week, the new reports out of the area suggest that the Shi’ite Houthis have recovered all the lost ground in the last three days.

Last week’s push by pro-Saudi forces was one of the first major ground offensives since the April ceasefire was announced, though fighting had been ongoing intermittently throughout that period, and airstrikes were common. The counter-offensive appears to have reversed all the gains, and another 85 fighters were reported slain in the three-day push.

This has been a common recurrence throughout the 15-month Saudi war in Yemen, with both sides split along the nation’s historical north-south divide, and often briefly trading control of the areas in between, to little effect.

President Hadi, the nominal leader of the pro-Saudi forces, appeared to blame the Saudi Air Force for the recent losses, saying that the troops had no choice but to retreat because of a lack of air support. The Saudi coalition has been pounding Yemen throughout the war, and is under growing attack for the huge civilian toll of its airstrikes.

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