US diplomatic moves on Yemen.. Battles intensify in Hodeidah and Marib, and the coalition announces the interception of a Houthi march
Today, Wednesday, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen announced the interception and destruction of a booby-trapped drone launched by the Houthis towards Saudi Arabia, amid the intensification of battles in the Ma’rib and Hodeidah governorates, coinciding with the start of US moves in search of a way out of the Yemeni crisis.
And the coalition said – in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency “SPA” – that “the air defenses of the coalition intercepted and destroyed a booby-trapped drone launched by the terrorist Houthi militia towards Khamis Mushait (southwest of the Kingdom),” as he put it, without further details.
The Houthis used to launch missiles and booby-trapped drones at Saudi regions, in return for repeated declarations by the coalition to thwart these attacks, despite Arab and international calls to abide by the ceasefire.
Yesterday, Tuesday, the coalition aircraft targeted gatherings of the Houthi group in separate locations south of Ma’rib, Yemen.
The Media Center of the Yemeni Armed Forces said – in a series of tweets through its official account on the social networking site “Twitter” – that “the coalition inflicted heavy losses on the Houthi militia in equipment and lives.”
The coalition intensified its attacks on the western coast of Yemen and announced the implementation of 27 operations against the Houthis in Marib and Al-Bayda during the past hours, and 4 operations to support the Yemeni government forces.
The Houthi movement has also recently made gains on the ground in the gas-rich Marib Governorate, the last stronghold of the government in the north of the country, and in the oil-rich Shabwa Governorate in the south, as well as areas in Hodeidah.
As the battles intensified in Marib, a military battalion arrived – yesterday, Tuesday – to the province to reinforce the army’s forces in the face of the Houthis.
Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar Al-Eryani said that the highly trained “Marib Martyrs Brigade”, which is equipped with weapons and military equipment, has arrived in the steadfast city of Marib, to engage in the fighting fronts alongside the national army and the resistance.
He pointed out that the arrival of the battalion “comes in light of the continued escalation of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, and the escalation of its terrorist attacks on civilian objects and civilians.”
He added, “This military force is one of the brigades of the Yemeni forces, which the government, represented by the Ministry of Defense, worked to form, structure and organize within the military forces, with training and logistical support from the leadership of the coalition led by the brothers in Saudi Arabia.”
The minister promised that more reinforcements would arrive in Marib, indicating that this would change the balance of power in favor of the national army.
Since last February, the Houthis have intensified their attacks in Marib to control it, as it is the most important stronghold of the government and the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense, in addition to its enjoyment of oil and gas wealth, and the Marib gas station, which before the war supplied most of the provinces with electricity.
Politically, the US special envoy to Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, began – yesterday, Tuesday – a tour of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to discuss the peace process in Yemen.
The US State Department said the US envoy is visiting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to coordinate regional security and concerns about Iran, and to hold talks on UN-led peace efforts in Yemen.
It added that Lenderking would also discuss the detention of some Yemeni workers by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in the US embassy compound in the capital, Sanaa, which closed in 2015.
Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the majority of the local workers were released, without mentioning the number of detainees or when they were detained.
The US embassy in Sanaa was closed after the Houthis overthrew the internationally recognized government in late 2014. Since then, the embassy has been performing its duties from Riyadh.
Lenderking visited the region several times this year 2021 as part of the United Nations-led efforts to arrange a ceasefire in Yemen in preparation for the resumption of talks aimed at ending the war.
Lenderking’s visit comes at a time when Houthi forces are advancing in areas south of the port of Hodeidah, following the withdrawal of coalition forces from it.
Today, Wednesday, the European Union called for an investigation into reports of executions in the Hodeidah Governorate, western Yemen.
And last Sunday, the Houthi group accused the pro-government forces of executing 10 prisoners south of Hodeidah, amid denials from the latter, which accused the group of executing and dragging several prisoners in the same governorate.
And yesterday, Tuesday, Yemen asked the British government to support its army “financially and morally” in the face of the Houthi group.
This came during a meeting between the Chief of the General Staff of the Yemeni government, Lieutenant-General Saghir bin Aziz, with the military attache at the British Embassy in Yemen, Colonel Peter Lee Jasek, in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, according to the official Yemeni news agency (Saba).
The Yemeni Chief of Staff discussed with the British official – according to the agency – “field developments and the various situations in the Yemeni arena.”
The agency quoted Jacek as confirming the continued efforts of the United Kingdom to support legitimacy and the Yemeni armed forces until the restoration of the state, the end of the coup and the achievement of lasting peace.