Yemen’s Houthis Overrun Key District in Taiz

Pro-Saudi Forces Face Mounting Losses in Long-Contested City

by Jason Ditz, August 02, 2016

Long at the center of the war between Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis and the pro-Saudi forces, reports out of Taiz tend to be irregular, loudly touted by regional press whenever the Saudi forces are making gains and predicting victory, and only rarely mentioned when the tide of battle turns against them.

After a few weeks of relative quiet, the most recent report is that the Houthis have been making major gains around Taiz, and today overran the pro-Saudi forces in the southern district of Hifan, which officials described as “one of the last strongholds” for the pro-Saudi Hadi forces not just in Taiz city, but in the entire province.

If they are expelled outright from the Taiz Province, this would be a huge PR blow for the Hadi forces, which had initially attacked Taiz with an eye on securing a straighforward route between their port city of Aden and the capital of Sanaa. Failure in Taiz already had been trying other, more roundabout ways, but Taiz was just stalemated at the time, and not outright lost.

The southern advance in Taiz has the Houthis on the verge of cutting off the supply route from the city of Lahij, potentially giving them a route to advance against parts of the southern coast and shrinking the territory of the Hadi forces in the south dramatically.

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