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Military Capabilities

Coalition capture of Yemen’s Hodeidah city likely, despite US call for ceasefire and ongoing UN mediation efforts

09 November 2018

Key Points

  • In the past few days, government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, have made the most significant progress yet in their offensive to capture Hodeidah since the resumption of offensive military operations in September 2018.
  • The intensification of coalition operations around Hodeidah came just after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis had called on 30 October for the parties to cease hostilities and restart peace talks in November.
  • Factional ground fighting, involving the use of heavy weapons and airstrikes, is likely to continue intensifying in Hodeidah city in the coming days, increasing the risk of damage both from targeted attacks and of stray rounds to property and strategic infrastructure, particularly in the Red Sea port.

Event

On 7 November, pro-government Yemeni ground troops, supported by coalition airstrikes, isolated the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah from the south, south west, and east and took up positions 5 km from the Red Sea port.

After the collapse of the Yemeni peace talks in September 2018, the Saudi-led coalition resumed its offensive military operations on all four major fronts of its campaign against the Houthi militia: in the northern Hajjah province, in the central provinces of Taiz and al-Daleh, and along the strategic Red Sea coastline. Among the four, the offensive aimed at capturing the port city of Hodeidah is the one that has made the biggest advances, with coalition-backed forces entering Hodeidah city on 4 November, after having spent almost two months in a bid to consolidate their positions in al-Darayhimi, approximately 35 km south of the port city.

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