Saudi-Led Coalition Deploys 2,800 Ground Troops in Yemen

Reuters06.08.2015 Yemen
Saudi-Led Coalition Deploys 2,800 Ground Troops in Yemen

Saudi-Led Coalition Deploys 2,800 Ground Troops in Yemen

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A ground force of 2,800 pro-government troops, accompanied by tanks and armored personnel carriers, pushed toward a Houthi-controlled military base in Yemen Monday as Saudi-led coalition airstrikes cleared their path.

The al-Anad military base, located just north of Yemen’s port city of Aden, is the main Houthi encampment in the country's south.

Arab coalition officials said allied fighters have gained control of the western gate of the key base, the Associated Press reported.

Houthi officials, meanwhile, said the base remains under their control amid fierce fighting and continuous Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, according to the AP.

The ground forces are comprised mostly of Saudi special operations, intelligence and logistics personnel supported by personnel and equipment from the United Arab Emirates and trained Yemeni fighters, a coalition force told Defense News.

Yemeni forces loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi sought help from coalition countries in the al-Anad operation, a Yemeni military official told the AP, calling them "partners in the liberation operation of Aden and other provinces."

The equipment from the UAE was delivered from a forward operating base located off the coast of the Red Sea, a coalition source told Defense News.

Gulf-based geopolitical and military analyst Theodore Karasik said the throughput of Saudi-led coalition equipment from sea to land signals more ground offensives ahead to expand the coalition's gains in and around Aden.

A key question, however, is how the opposition will counterattack what is seen as a conventional force, he added.

“We have seen before conventional forces being forced into retreat, but the Saudi-led forces are using a mix of hybrid warfare combined with tribal support to achieve superiority in key areas,” Karasik told Defense News.

“Importantly, the successes in southwestern Yemen shows how the Saudi-led forces may be the embryonic steps of a joint Arab force.”

Source: Reuters; Defense News

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