At Least 96 Killed as Yemen’s Houthis Push Toward Maarib

Latest two days of fighting leave Houthi forces closer to reaching key city

Since February, fighting has raged over the northern Yemen city of Maarib, the last government-held possession in the north, as the Houthis and their allies try to contest control over it with a 3-pronged offensive.

In recent weeks, reports are that the Houthis are gaining some ground, and in the last two days they’ve gone deeper in, with heavy fighting killing 96 fighters, mostly Houthis. They are still, slowly but surely, advancing on the city.

Pro-Saudi forces say that the Houthis now pose a “very real threat” to both fronts on the city’s northwest. The third front to the south mostly appears unchanged, and under government control.

Maarib’s value is often overstated, as its wealth of oil and gas is only measurable by comparison to other desperately poor cities in Yemen. The city is small, and struggling with a large refugee problem from the surrounding area.

Maarib’s worth is mostly symbolic as the “last” northern stronghold, as if the Houthis seized Maarib outright, they could lay claim to all of North Yemen, and use that to enhance their position on negotiations.

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.