Military Capabilities

UAE-backed Yemeni operation making progress in Al-Hudaydah

09 November 2018

MaxxPro armoured vehicles operated by UAE-backed Yemeni forces are seen in the outskirts of Al-Hudaydah on 8 November. Source: Khaled Ziad/AFP/Getty Images

The renewed operation around Al-Hudaydah appears to be a major offensive to capture the Yemeni port city, rather than another incremental step to take new positions on its outskirts.

Yemeni forces equipped and supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the airport south of the city in June, then swung around to the east to take the Kilo 16 junction to the east of the city in September, thereby cutting the main road linking it with the capital Sanaa.

The renewed offensive was announced by the Al-Amaliqah (Giants) Brigades, the primary UAE-backed force, on 2 November. It said it had launched a "massive military operation" to clear Al-Hudaydah with the support of the Saudi-led coalition. It released video footage showing its fighters had reached the Arch of Triumph, 3.5 km west of Kilo 16.

Ansar Allah, the rebel group popularly known as the Houthis, announced on 5 November that it had counter attacked at Kilo 16, killing more than 200 fighters, including 25 Sudanese troops serving with the coalition, and destroying 19 armoured vehicles.

However, the Al-Amaliqah Brigades proved on the same day that they were continuing to advance towards the city by releasing footage showing they had captured the Red Sea Flour Mills Company facility and nearby roundabout, another 3.5 km west of Kilo 16.

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