In Yemen, fighting is raging for the town of Ma’rib, capital of the province of the same name, following the expiration of the ultimatum issued by the militants of Ansar Allah (the Houthis). Houthi military forces are intensifying their push towards the central Yemeni city from its western outskirts.
The Houthis asked Saudi-backed forces to lay down their weapons a week ago. After their conditions were not met, they launched an offensive in several districts of the province.
On September 28, the Houthis took control over the Al-Ghayul, Al-Sai’d, Samira, Al-Ahdhan heights and Nasir area. They also broke the defense of Saudi-backed forces al-Jubah district, pawing the way for capturing of the southern regions of the province, coming closer to the siege of the city of Ma’rib.
Meanwhile, clashes continue near the al-Khushaynah and Umm al-Rish military camps west of the city of Ma’rib. The clashes reached the bases on September 26th.
Saudi warplanes provide aerial support and have intensified their attacks on Houthi positions in the region. In the past 48 hours, Saudi coalition warplanes bombed Harib and Jubah 51 times, Sarwah 8 times, Madghal 3 times in the Marib province.
According to local reports, the Houthis used drones with explosives and rockets to attack the enemy forces.
“More than 28 members of the Houthi rebel group and 16 soldiers of pro-government forces have been killed in the past day during the fighting in Marib,” a local army source said.
At the same time,the Houthi leaders continue their talks with Al-Abdiyah tribes as some tribes confronted the Ansar Allah movement. The Houthis continue their attempts to avoid clashes with the allied tribes of the Saudi coalition and gain their support.
Houthi forces are also advancing into the Assilan district in Shabwa, where the Janna oil field is located.
The province of Ma’rib is of strategic importance. It hosts the biggest gas fields in the country, while Shabwa region also has several oil fields and the sole liquefied natural gas terminal in Yemen.
About 2.2 million people are currently leaving in 139 refugee camps in the Ma’rib province.
The Huthis tried to seize Marib in February and failed. They renewed their campaign in September, with much more success.
Today, the fighters are on the verge of changing the course of the war if they manage to take control over the government’s last bastion in the northern region.
The seizure of Ma’rib would also provide the Houthis with the upper hand in any peace negotiations.
Amid the Houthi success on the ground, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, came to Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is allegedly ordered to convince the Saudi Prince to move towards a ceasefire agreement with the Houthis.
Riyadh intervened in Yemen in 2015, supported by the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Biden administration has since allegedly reduced its military support to the Kingdom, saying it would continue to provide military assistance for the kingdom’s defence. Probably, it was the reason to provide the coalition with the US-made ScanEagle drones that are regularly shot down over the Yemeni Ma’rib.
Taking into account, the recent military developments in Ma’rib and political activities of the warring parties, Yemen is likely to follow the example of Afghanistan in the near future.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
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- Casualties Reported After New Missile Strike On Yemen’s Ma’rib, Houthis Blamed (Photos)
- Ma’rib: Large Explosions At Key Saudi Forces Camp Attributed To Houthi Missile Strike (Videos)