10 Killed in Clashes Between Saudi-Backed Forces and Houthis in Central Yemen

Houthi forces keen to make deep advances into oil-rich areas

An hour of heavy fighting in Marib Governate, south of the city of Marib, has left at least 10 fighters dead and another 9 wounded, as pro-government Saudi-backed fighters clashed with the Shi’ite Houthi movement.

Marib is valuable because of oil and gas, and because it provides a route into oil-rich Shabwa, an area, it is speculated, the Houthis are keen to take. Should they succeed, this would split South Yemen in two.

With the Saudi military intervention in 2015, pro-government forces took the southern city of Aden and tried to bull through Marib toward the capital city of Sanaa. Since then, Marib has been contested more or less constantly.

The pro-government fighters in the Sunday conflict were from the Giants Brigade. Four were killed in the clash, as well as six Houthi fighters.

An explosion of an unidentified projectile from the Houthis was also reported east of the city of Marib. This was independent of the conflict, and no casualties were reported.

With pro-Saudi forces unwilling to consider the de facto split of Yemen into north and south as the new normal, fighting between the two sides has become ongoing in the area. The conflict is interrupted only by occasional fighting among various southern forces, including secessionists.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.