Dozens Killed in Fighting Over North Yemen City of Maarib

Diplomats push for ceasefire, but battle continues to rage

Fighting in Northern Yemen has picked up once again this weekend, and as with the last couple of months, is centering on the city of Maarib, the last government-controlled city in the north, being contested by the Houthis.

Yemeni military reports 47 killed Saturday, including 16 soldiers. There was no report from the Houthis, but generally both sides report higher death tolls from the other side, and less deaths on their side.

There has been an ongoing attempt by diplomats to broker a ceasefire, and Oman in particular is trying to make way for peace talks. The Houthis seem particularly keen on seizing Maarib ahead of the talks, giving them a vast contiguous territory to negotiate from.

Maarib’s value is limited, beyond months of fighting making it a symbol for the state of war in northern Yemen. With the government also struggling with separatists in the south, this loss could force them to get out of the war.

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.