Hundreds Killed on Each Side; Yemen’s Maarib a ‘Blood Bath’

No sign of last northern government post changing hands, fighting continues

The UN is pushing both sides to abandon the ongoing escalation of the fighting over Yemen’s Maarib, the last government-held outpost in northern Yemen, warning that the toll is rising and that risks a civilian exodus from the area.

Weeks of fighting so far have accomplished little, with sources describing a “blood bath” and both sides having lost hundreds of fighters. The outpost is still in government hands, though the Houthis have high ground in the vicinity now.

The deadliest single fight since 2018, the Maarib battle reflects something common in Yemen, that it’s easy to get into a deadly fight, but hard to make any territory change hands in a meaningful way.

The Houthis insist Maarib is part of the “national liberation battle,” though in practice it may be about improving their bargaining position by holding the entire north when peace talks inevitably resume.

The value of Maarib is often overstated, with talk of it being “oil-rich” or “gas-rich” misleading, as it is only so compared to the rest of the disastrously impoverished nation. Control is more about claiming momentum than any pittance either side will extract from the region after the battle.

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.