40 Killed as Pro-Saudi Forces Launch Offensive in Southern Yemen

28 Houthis, 12 Pro-Saudi Soldiers Reported Slain

by Jason Ditz, December 27, 2016

Amid the relative calm that followed the most recent international calls for a ceasefire in Yemen, the pro-Saudi forces have again launched a major offensive, this time targeting the southern Shabwa Province, and engaging in heavy fighting with the Shi’ite Houthis.

The Houthis control only a single district in the southern province, and pro-Saudi forces attacked the district, claiming after the fighting that 28 Houthis were slain and 12 “soldiers of the legitimate forces” were also killed in the fighting. The Houthis haven’t confirmed the toll, but it’s not unusual for both sides to dispute who killed more. H

Saudi warplanes were reportedly involved in the offensive, and while the pro-Saudi officials claimed to have taken “several positions” in the district, they do not appear to have taken the district over outright, suggesting the fighting will continue in Shabwa, just one of many contested areas in Yemen.

Since invading Yemen in early 2015, pro-Saudi forces have gained control of considerable southern territory, centered around an “interim” capital in the port city of Aden. The Shi’ite Houthis still control the north, with a lot of contested territory between them.

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