After withdrawing from the western Yemeni province of al-Hudaydah upon orders from the Saudi-led coalition, Saudi-backed forces are now attempting to prevent the Houthis (Ansar Allah) from taking over the entire western Yemeni coast.
On November 21, Saudi-backed forces managed to expel the Houthis from the district of Hays, some 100 km to the south of al-Hudaydah provincial center.
Saudi-backed forces also advanced in the districts of al-Jarrahi and Jabal Ra’s. At same time they managed to secure some positions in the district of Maqbanah in the nearby province of Taiz.
The Saudi-led coalition provided its proxies with close air support. In a statement, the coalition said that its warplanes had carried out 13 airstrikes on the western coast.
“We support Yemeni forces’ operations on the western coast outside the provisions of the Stockholm [ceasefire] Agreement,” the coalition said in a statement.
The Houthis took over much of al-Hudaydah and its coastline following the abrupt withdrawal of Saudi-backed forces earlier this month.
The coalition claims that the decision to withdraw from al-Hudaydah was the result of the Houthis’ repeated violations of the UN-brokered ceasefire and the group’s control over several Red Sea ports, including that of al-Hudaydah.
The real motive behind the withdrawal was, however, the coalition’s desire to reinforce the central province of Ma’rib, where the Houthis made significant gains recently.
It’s worth mentioning that Saudi-backed forces kicked off an military operation in the central province of Shabwah on November 20, just to pressure the Houthis in neighboring Ma’rib.