Dozens Killed in Weekend Fighting in Central Yemen

Yemeni government claims all slain were Houthis

Dozens were reported killed over the past three days in central Yemen, according to various reports. The main fighting was in Maarib Province, where the Houthis are contesting the oil-producing areas, and Saudi-backed forces tried to push into the vital aid port of Hodeidah.

Government officials said at least 30 Houthis were killed in Maarib, and did not provide figures on Hodeidah, beyond one civilian being killed in the crossfire. Hodeidah is meant to be in a state of ceasefire, but government forces appear keen to contest that again.

Neither of these battles is likely to be hugely impactful on the Yemen War. Maarib is the most oil-rich part of Yemen, but that’s not saying much for one of the region’s poorest nations. Hodeidah has been a target several times but it would take a lot more fighting than is ongoing to contest control over it.

Hodeidah is meant to be a neutral site used for humanitarian aid, and is the import source for much of the nation’s food and medicine. At one point the Saudis had designs for closing the port to cut off the last source of food for Houthi territory, but international groups pushed for a deal that precluded mass starvation as a military strategy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of