Intense fighting erupted Saturday in the Nihm District of Yemen, roughly 30 miles northeast of the capital city of Sanaa, between Saudi-backed fighters and the Shi’ite Houthi movement that controls the capital.
24 hours of fighting has left at least 55 combatants dead, roughly evenly split between the two sides, with some suggesting the toll may be even higher. Dozens more were wounded. There are as yet no reliable reports on the civilian casualties in the area, but there are tens of thousands of civilians living in the district.
Fighting in this area east of Saana was pretty much inevitable, as the Saudi-backed forces loyal to the former Hadi government have been parked at the hills east of the capital for months on end, massed but unable to make serious advances because of the terrain and intense resistance they’re facing from the Houthis.
The Saudis have long presented their proximity to Sanaa as a sign they are on the verge of making a major breakthrough, though it’s been so long since they’ve been making progress on the ground everyone has conceded it to be in a stalemate. This weekend’s fighting, with heavy casualties and no sign of significant ground changing hands, reflects that stalemate.