Pro-Saudi Forces Capture Territory Along Key Yemen Highway

Gains in Southern Maarib Put Houthis on Defensive

Despite claiming previously that they held all but the northernmost reaches of the central Maarib Province, pro-Saudi forces today claimed to have captured the Maarib Dam, in the southern part of the province, touting it as a big setback for the Shi’ite Houthis who control northern Yemen.

The dam itself is relatively unimportant, but control of it gives the pro-Saudi forces control over an area along a key highway connecting the south of the country, which they control, to the capital city of Sanaa. The goal of the Maarib offensive was to get access to this highway, and advance on Sanaa.

Though taking the dam is a step in that direction, the reports this weekend from elsewhere in the province are less upbeat, suggesting the Houthis have managed to bring the offensive to a standstill in northern parts of the province with mine fields.

Though neither side issued any statement on casualties, locals claimed 22 Houthis were killed in the fighting around the dam. There is at this point no way of confirming that, however.

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.