Fighting Around Yemen’s City of Taiz Kills 40

Heavy Fighting Reported in Attempted Houthi Offensive

by Jason Ditz, September 15, 2016

Heavy fighting was reported in a new Shi’ite Houthi offensive in the Yemeni city of Taiz, attempting to advance into a key mountainous area overlooking the Bab al-Mandaab Strait. Pro-Saudi forces indicated that the offensive was repelled.

According to officials, at least 40 combatants were killed in the fight, including 27 Shi’ite Houthis and 13 pro-Saudi fighters. It was, as always, impossible to verify the casualty figures and the split in casualties between the two sides.

Taiz has long been the main prize for both sides in the Saudi war in Yemen, with pro-Saudi forces holding the southern port of Aden, and Houthis controlling the capital of Sanaa. Taiz is roughly in the middle of the two cities, and on the main highway connecting the two.

The Saudi forces initially sought to advance on Sanaa through Taiz, but fighting fairly quickly stalled in the area around the city. Since then, other routes between Aden and Sanaa have also become contested, but both sides intermittently try to make gains around Taiz, albeit usually to little effect on the overall security situation.

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