Last night, pro-Saudi fighters attacked and claimed to have captured the Yemeni city of Taiz, the third largest city in the country. Dubbed the “gateway to Sanaa,” they were presenting the capture as a decisive blow against the Shi’ite Houthis.
That declaration of victory was premature, however, as 24 hours of solid fighting has left the city contested, and at least 80 people killed. This is only the combatant death toll, with 50 Houthis and 31 pro-Saudi fighters, while the civilian toll is as yet uncertain.
As of the most recent reports, the pro-Saudi forces have captured the intelligence headquarters in the city and retain a mountaintop nearby that they took yesterday, though the military bases are said to still be in the hands of military forces aligned with the Houthis.
With the Houthis holding the capital of Sanaa and the government holding Aden, the country looks increasingly fragmented. Taiz will be a big price for whichever faction prevails in this battle, though it may also remain contested in the long run.