Saudi Coalition Claims Ground Recovered in Southern Yemen Offensive

Dozens killed in heavy fighting on both sides

In recent months, Saudi and coalition reports on Yemen have centered almost entirely how many people they’ve killed. In the past couple of days there are rare claims of territory changing hands.

The reports are on a push into Assilan, Shabwah Province, which the Houthis had recently taken, and which the coalition wants back. The Houthis are using it primarily as a supply line into Maarib.

The coalition is claiming big losses for the Houthis in Shabwah, and inroads in Maarib. The gains in Maarib seem highly speculative, and based on the idea that the Houthis have lost supply routes, so land losses can’t be far off.

Both sides are using Shabwah primarily as a supply route, and as both sides get entrenched in Maarib, shifting to Shabwah for fighting is aiming to turn the tide in Maarib, the real prize.

The newfound focus on Shabwah has media calling it “oil rich,” as with Maarib. In practice, neither has much oil, but Maarib has a lot more. Shabwah’s value to the oil trade is chiefly through pipelines to its ports. Either way, the oil trade in Yemen is a fairly minor source of revenue for the impoverished country.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.