Pro-Saudi Forces Capture South Yemen City of Zinjibar

Three UAE Soldiers Killed in Offensive

Backed with Saudi airstrikes, a group of pro-Saudi forces from the southern Yemen city of Aden, including United Arab Emirates ground troops marched on and captured the Abyan Province capital city of Zinjibar, just west down the coast from Aden.

Though the offensive was ultimately successful, it was marred initially by Saudi warplanes accidentally bombing their own allies, killing at least 20 troops. The UAE has confirmed they lost at least three troops over the course of the day’s offensive, though it is unclear how they were slain.

Zinjibar served as the capital of the brief emirate of a group calling itself Ansar al-Sharia, which was closely allied to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), during the Arab Spring. The heavily Sunni area was controlled by the Shi’ite Houthis most recently before today’s offensive.

Officials from the Saudi alliance are hyping the gain as a huge one, and presenting Zinjibar as a strategically important territory, though throughout many of the wars in Yemen it has remained a largely forgotten city, a bit off the beaten path and rarely heavily contested.

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.