Yemen: Over 100 Soldiers Killed in Failed Attempt to Recapture Zinjibar

Yesterday's Claims of Progress Give Way to a Withdrawal

Only yesterday Yemeni officials were claiming significant progress in their military effort to retake the southwestern town of Zinjibar. Today, officials have admitted the situation was far more grave than they were letting on.

Rather than only seven soldiers slain in the offensive, officials now put the toll at over 100 soldiers killed and 260 others wounded. Not only that, but the troops had withdrawn from the town in a “tactical move.”

Now the Yemeni military is relying purely on air strikes and artillery fire in attacking the town, the capital of the Abyan Province. The town has been under the control of a group calling itself Ansar al-Sharia, which the Saleh government accuses of being in league with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Information about the exact situation inside the town remains unclear, but the faction that took over Zinjibar (and reportedly some neighboring villages) is just one of many which has taken portions of the country out of the control of the increasingly floundering regime. The disastrous attempts to reclaim the relatively minor town suggest that the government won’t be able to reconquer the nation with military force.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.