On November 10, the Saudi-led coalition denied withdrawing from the southern Yemeni city of Aden, the temporary home to the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.
The coalition was formed by Saudi Arabia and several other Arab states more than six years ago to stop a rebellion by the Houthis (Ansar Allah) and their allies in Yemen.
In the last few days, equipment and troops from the coalition were caught withdrawing from the coalition’s Command Camp in the district of Buraiqeh to the west of Aden city. The forces left al-Zait port aboard the DORRAT JEDDAH ro-ro cargo vessel. A cargo aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force also picked up equipment and a number of troops from Aden International Airport.
عربات سعودية وعسكريين سعوديين تم سحبهم من عدن عبر ميناء الزيت في البريقة على متن سفينة تسمى درة جده ، يا ترى هل تحركهم لتعزيز منطقة أخرى في اليمن ؟ ، أم هو الفرار؟ .
— محمد ناصر الفقيهي (@mohamedalfqihi) November 11, 2021
The coalition said in a statement that its forces were just “moving” and “relocating,” stressing that it is still present in Yemen.
“These moves are in line with the coalition’s strategy in the area of military operations, and we continue to stand with the Yemeni people and support the army to restore the state,” the statement reads.
In 2019, the Saudi-led coalition relocated its forces from different parts of Yemen to Aden city and its surroundings. Currently, coalition forces are rarely taking part in ground operations against the Houthis in the country.
Despite the coalition’s denial, the recent movements in Aden may be just the beginning of a full-on Saudi withdrawal from Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition have been struggling to make any achievement on the ground and to stop the Houthis’ drone and missiles attacks for the last few years. The Kingdom may be planning to limit its costly intervention in Yemen to aerial operations.