With peace talks just a week away, heavy fighting was reported in the southwest Yemeni city of Mocha, where pro-Saudi forces backed by Saudi warplanes attacked a military base, aiming to wrest it from the Shi’ite Houthis who control the country’s north.
Over the course of the day, at least 35 fighters were reported killed. The split between the two factions was unclear, and neither side is admitting to having lost the base yet, suggesting that as with most of the country, the fighting is stalemated.
The fighting in Mocha and the rest of the Taiz Province is expected to pick up in the next week as both sides scramble to get last minute gains they can take into the UN peace talks, believing a little more territory here or there will strengthen their bargaining position.
Taiz Province is one of several targets of pro-Saudi offensives, though each of those offensives have stalled and ultimately shifted at least partially to other provinces. Nine months into the war, little territory seems to be changing hands anymore, though death tolls continue to mount.