Saudi-led coalition forces are claiming to have advanced to within fewer than 20 kilometers from Yemen’s Houthi-held port city of Hodeida, where Saudi forces claim Iran has been supplying the Houthis with weapons.
Arab media close to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates say Yemeni forces fighting alongside the Saudi-led coalition have gained ground in the battle to retake Yemen’s second-largest port of Hodeida, which is held by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and serves the capital, Sanaa.
Amateur video showed forces fighting alongside the coalition with weaponry they claimed to have captured from the Houthis as they fled their positions. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV reported Houthi land mines and rockets captured near Hodeida were made in Iran. VOA could not independently confirm the report.
A young militia fighter with Saudi coalition forces from the United Arab Emirates and Sudan claimed his men were getting closer to Hodeida. He said his men have achieved a major victory on the road toward Hodeida.
Saudi coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki told journalists late Monday troops loyal to the government of President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi have recently achieved a number of victories on several fronts, causing the widespread collapse of Houthi militia forces.
He said Yemeni forces supported by the Saudi-led coalition are within 20 kilometers of the Red Sea port.
Houthi leader Abdel Malik al Houthi acknowledged in a speech Sunday his forces had suffered a number of setbacks on a several fronts. He said this is a normal occurrence in war for various logistics reasons, but it doesn’t mean the end of the war.
Some Arab media said Tareq Saleh, nephew of the late President Ali Abdallah Saleh, has been fighting alongside the Saudi-led coalition. Saleh, who was the commander of his uncle’s Presidential Guard unit, joined the battle to defeat the Houthis earlier this year, after the United Arab Emirates, where his family resides, urged to do so.
The United Arab Emirates plays a major role in the Saudi-led coalition.
Former Yemeni military officer and analyst Mohsen Naji Musaid told Arab media at least three indigenous Yemeni militias are fighting alongside the Saudi-led coalition, under the banner of President Hadi.
He said militiamen from the southern Yemeni opposition, Salafi fighters, and forces close to the Muslim Brotherhood-supported Islah Party, are fighting alongside the United Arab Emirates and Sudanese troops.