The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ground forces deployed to southern Yemen and their allies have made significant advances against the Iranian-backed Ansar Allah (Houthis) group.
The coastal town of Al-Khawkhah was taken on 9 December and the advance continued further inland to Hays and Zabid with the apparent intention of cutting supply lines to the Ansar Allah forces besieging the city of Taizz.
Al-Khawkhah is 55 km north of Al-Mukha, the small port that was captured by the UAE and its allies in February and subsequently turned into a hub for further operations, and about 120 km south of Al-Hudaydah, the only major port under Ansar Allah’s control.
The UAE’s Emirates News Agency (WAM) released rare footage of the country’s forces in southern Yemen. It showed the operation involved Leclerc tanks, AMV infantry fighting vehicles, G6 and M109 howitzers, and Agrab mortar carriers.
Brigadier Abd-al-Salam al-Shihi, the Emirati officer commanding coalition forces in the region, told WAM that the operation was “an epic battle” that also involved Sudanese and local National Resistance Forces. A local militia called the Tihamah Resistance said it was also involved.
Brig Shihi claimed the operation was also supported by the Republic Guard: a reference to forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed by Ansar Allah on 4 December after his alliance with the group collapsed.
He added that hundreds of Ansar Allah fighters had been killed, wounded, and captured during the fighting.
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