55 Killed in Heavy Fighting in Southwest Yemen

Saudi-Backed Troops Try to Capture Key Mountain Base

Saudi-backed troops made an attempt last week to try to push into the Dhubab District in southwestern Yemen, aiming to unseat the Houthi forces from a key mountain base near the Bab al-Mandaab Strait. That offensive didn’t succeed, and over the last 48 hours a new push has been made.

Heavy fighting over the past two days has left 55 fighters killed, with pro-Saudi officials claiming 12 of their fighters were killed and 43 Houthis. Most of the slain Houthis were apparently on a pair of boats that were attacked by Saudi warplanes.

The Bab al-Mandaab Strait separates the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, and is a narrow separation between Yemen and Djibouti. Houthi control over the area has heavily complicated the Saudi naval blockade of Yemen, in place since March 2015.

Though in both of the recent pushes the Saudis are claiming much higher death tolls among the Houthis, the accuracy of such figures are often disputed between the two sides. Either way the indications are that the base in the mountains is still under Houthi control.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.