Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

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The project published a third article on the war in Yemen. This report covers the involvement of Sudanese troops on the side of the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni conflict. (SOURCE)

SF provides its translation. Pics are taken from the original text.

The previous articles can be found here: “Leclerc MBT: Yemen Testing Ground“, “Saudi-led Coalition’s Deliveries Of Armoured Vehicles To Its Allies In Yemen


The third article will be devoted to the assessment of the armed forces of the Republic of Sudan in their participation in the Yemeni war on the side of the Saudi-led coalition and President Hadi’s loyalists. The article uses content from Sudanese soldiers’ Facebook accounts.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

On the morning following the first Saudi-led coalition air strikes on positions of the Houthis and the rebelled part of the Yemeni Armed Forces, four countries, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Sudan, immediately announced their readiness to send troops for ground operations. But this promise was fulfilled not by everyone.

Let’s count the countries, which have participated in the activities of the Saudi-led coalition, and define their roles.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is the leader of the coalition, the coordinator and the most active promoter of legitimacy on the wings of 100 aircraft of its forces, “the main dancer of Hadists in the north of the country”, supplying them with everything from food and uniforms, ending with weapons and military equipment. The Special Forces of the KSA also participate in the conflict. The National Guard and other units of the KSA military including armoured forces participate in operations at the Saudi-Yemeni border.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE is the main competitor of the KAS within the coalition, its interests often run counter to the interests of the coalition’s leader. The UAE is the main sponsor and supplier of equipment and weapons for the Southern Movement. The UAE Armed Forces took part in operations in southern provinces of Yemen in the summer of 2015 as well were extremely active during the attack on Marib in September 2015 and in the western coast of Yemen in 2017-2018.


The ministate employed 15 aircraft to participate in the war and sent a small number of servicemen to fight in Marib battles. Currently, it continues assisting to protect the KSA border.


Kuwait empoyed 15 aircraft. According to official data, Kuwaiti military personnel were not deployed in Yemen, but its artillery units were spotted on the Saudi border.


Another ministate with great ambitions sent 1,000 soldiers to defend the Saudi borders and employed 10 aircraft. In the summer of 2017, Qatar was accused of supporting terrorist organizations and was expelled from the Saudi-led coalition. It is believed that Qatar played an important role in the coalition’s failures in Yemen.


Jordan limited its involvement by sending 6 aircraft and selling useless junk from their warehouses to supply Hadi’s supporters, naturally at the KSA’s expense.


Morocco sent 6 aircraft and 1,500 soldiers who somehow did not make it to Yemen and in 2018 there were reports of the beginning of withdrawal of the country’s air force from the operation.


In 2017, the President of Egypt declared readiness to send 40,000 soldiers to Yemen but he could not send 800 soldiers even before. In any case, Egypt got rid of its main creditor, Saudi Arabia.


Apparently, Senegal sent no one and nothing and all the support were mere words, the promised 2100 soldiers never reached Yemen.


Sudan sent 4 attack aircraft and, according to different reports, up to 10,000 service members to participate the war .

The US, some NATO countries, Turkey and others were involved in secondary roles. Their main goals are logistics, reconnaissance, arms delivery, moral support etc. but, according to some reports, the US Armed Forces have taken and are taking a limited role in clashes at the Saudi-Yemeni border.

In fact, two countries, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, bear the main financial obligations. carry out air strikes. All the “dirty work” is done by the heroes of our article, the Sudanese soldiers.

Chapter 1 – the Sudanese Air Force’s participation

Sudanese Su-24M attack aircraft arrived at the King Khalid air base in Khamis Mushait almost immediately after the declaration of war at the end of March 2015. Reliable information exists only about the participation of two aircraft of the four declared. These aircraft have tail numbers of 101 and 104.

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Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Sudanese pilots are in Saudi Arabia

In the early days of the war, the Houthis claimed that one Sudanese warplane had been shot down in Yemen but this information was not confirmed.

It is not clear whether the Sudanese warplanes participate in the conflict presently (most likely not). They were last seen at the base in December 2015 and no other information over their participation has been ever received since then.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

It is worth mentioning one quite interesting episode. On December 26, 2015, a Belarusian Boeing 747-200 Transaviaexport, carrying a secret cargo (according to The Aviation Herald, there were 100 tons of Su-24M bombs on board), made a hard landing at the King Khalid airbase. Representatives of the airline first denied the information, claiming that the plane with the registration number mentioned in the publication was, at that time, in the United States. However, later they conficrmed that a second Boeing, which was at the disposal of the company, was involved in an accident at the Saudi air base.

In general, the role of the Sudanese Su-24M in the coalition’s air power activity is insignificant – less than one percent.

Chapter 2 – Deployment in Aden

After considerable successes in southern Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition tried to return Hadi to the power in Yemen as quickly as possible, however, soldiers, weaponry and hardware were needed to do so. If there were no problems with the second and third components, there were difficulties with the replenishment of new recruits into forces of the so-called legitimate government.

In fact, the coalition, Hadi’s supporters and the Southern Movement waged a two-fronts war, the fight with Houthis and Saleh supporters in the North and the retention of positions in the south, where Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS are particularly active.  The lack of experienced soldiers and officers in the Hadi army was one of the key problems.

Since the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula (Bahrein, Kuwait and Qatar) were not eager to send thousands of their soldiers to the war and some states (Egypt, Morocco and Senegal) melted away, the only country ready to actually provide its armed forces was Sudan, which had already participated in a peacekeeping mission on the Comoros in 2001-2008.

The Saudi promise to invest in the industry development and agriculture of Sudan, and  to assist in lifting the “Western” sanctions played its part. Since 1993 Sudan has been on the terrorism sponsors list and Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is considered to be a criminal, an organiser of genocide and is being subjected to persecution by the International Criminal Court. No living leaders can boast such achievements. Looking ahead, we can add that the US has truly removed some of the economic restrictions from the country.

After a little bargaining, in early September, a spokesperson for the Sudanese Armed Forces General Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saeed announced his readiness to send troops to participate in ground operations in Yemen.

On October 17, 2015 hundreds of Sudanese servicemen with their military equipment, including BTR-70MB1 armoured personnel carriers and pickups landed in Aden. The initially planned number of reinforcements – 6,000 soldiers – gradually increased to 10,000 soldiers. It is believed that this number is still kept thanks to rotations. As a rule, troops of the Sudanese army are usually deployed in Yemen no more than six months.

Sudanese units are called Liwa (brigade) Al Hazem (لواء الحزم). There are at least three Al Hazem brigades. The second and third brigades  are often mentioned when some refer to the soldiers of the Sudanese Armed Forces deployed at the Yemeni-Saudi border. The first participates in operations on the territory of southern Yemeni provinces , Taiz and Al Hudaydah.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Representatives of almost all branches of the Sudanese Armed Forces were spotted in Yemen: motorized rifle, armoured, airborne, artillery, special forces, military police and others, including intelligence. Only the Sudanese can understand what subunits are part of the Al Hazem brigades. Most likely, these brigades are similar to an expeditionary force of the Sudanese Armed Forces. The following videos show their exercises.

Chapter 3 – Military Hardware of the Sudanese Armed Forces in Yemen

The Sudanese did not come to Yemen empty-handed, even during the landing at the port of Aden it was possible to see BTR-70МB1 armoured personnel carriers from Belarus were seen. At least six vehicles were at the disposal of the 1st Al Hazem brigade.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Sudanese pickups and military hardware of an unusual for Yemen camouflage pattern and armed with heavy machine guns and grenade launchers were also deployed.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Later, Sudanese-made BRDM-2 (locally known as Al-Amir 2) were spotted during the fighting in the area of the Khalid camp. These vehicles differ from Soviet- or Russian-made BDRM-2 by a more powerful Isuzu 6HH-1 diesel engine and by a modified design of the exhaust pipe.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Additionally, Sudanese units were significantly strengthened with Cayman and Oshkosh M-ATV (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle) armoured vehicles, which were initially supplied by the UAE to the Southern Movement.

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The border brigades of Al Hazem (the second and the third) have a slightly more diverse fleet of military vehicles; four BTR-70МB1 and at least four Т-72АВ battle tanks (the Sudanese call them Al-Zubair 1) were also deployed. According to the Sudanese, “their” version of the battle tank has no autoloader as this function is fulfilled by specially trained servicemen. One of the comrades also noted that a 125 mm/L48 smoothbore cannon 2A46 is installed to T-72ABs, not 105mm M68 gun like in Abrams battle tanks. The working loader can be seen on the video from the exercises.

This ‘trick’ was probably done by the Sudanese to cover up purchases of battle tanks and components for them by Sudan bypassing the sanctions.

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The Sudanese also brought some number of armoured Sarsar-1 cars (most likely, based on the Toyota chassis), some of which were transferred to the Hadists fighting on the border, as well as southerners loyal to Hadi in the city of Aden. Taking into account the flags on the windshields, these vehicles were most likely delivered by Saudi Arabia.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Additionally, the border brigade was supplied with a large number of pickups and a small number of Oshkosh, Cougar and Al-Shibl 2 vehicles.

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Chapter 4 – Operations in South Yemen

Initially, after their deployment in Yemen, the Sudanese were operating on the secondary roles: they were training Yemeni forces, servicing hardware, defending the government’s and industrial facilities in Aden and other southern areas of Yemen (Shabwah, Abyan and Hadhramaut).

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The first casualties they suffered were on January 29, 2016 in Aden when Sergeant Haitham At-Toyib Hamid died. The circumstances of his death were not revealed.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

The Sudanese have participated in almost all operations of the coalition in southern Yemen since January 2016, but only as an auxiliary force. Thus, the Sudanese were spotted during anti-AQAP operations in Aden-Abyan and in clashes with the Southern Movement at the Aden airport in March 2017.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Clashes with AQAP in Abyan

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Clashes at the Aden airport

Chapter 5 – Operation Golden Arrow

The Sudanese participated more actively in a large-scale operation of the coalition and its allies to seize the Red Sea coast, which began in January 2017. At this point (May 2018), the anti-Houthi forces have managed to occupy the coast from Bab-el-Mandeb in Taiz to the city of Hays in Al Hudaydah, as well as to make significant progress in the areas of Mawza and Al-Waziyah, west of Taiz.

A convoy of six BTR-70МB1 vehicles and Sudanese servicemen were spotted in the 20s of January for the first time during an attack on the port city of Mokha. The fate of these BTR-70MB1s is not known, but they have not been seen any more. By summer, the Sudanese have begun to use on Oshkosh and Cayman vehicles.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

In early April, they were redeployed to participate in the battle for the Al-Nar Mountain, where they officially lost five soldiers. Twenty two Sudanese troops were wounded. Despite the fact that there were many Sudanese soldiers in Taiz, most of them continued to carry out secondary tasks like protection of roadblocks and demining of the area.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

With the beginning of the Al Hudaydah offensive in December, the Sudanese were also employed. However, the main task was still carried out by the southern brigades of al Amalik and former Saleh fighters from the Republican Guard.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Very few photos were found on the pages of the Sudanese from the first brigade; nothing special, no photos of damaged hardware or accurate data about the location of field camps were obtained.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

The rape of a Yemeni girl by a Sudanese soldier in the area of the Abu Musa al-Ash’ari camp in Al-Khokha, in the South of the Al Hudaydah province was widely reported. The crime angered not only the opponents, but also the Sudanese allies within the Saudi-led coalition.

Chapter 6 – Midi

Midi is a small and strategically important city near the border with Saudi Arabia. Its  area is only a couple of square kilometres. Since the end of 2015, Midi has become a bur in the throat of the Saudi-led coalition and despite numerous airstrikes that turned Midi into ruins, it had remained uncaptured until April 2018.

After more than a year of active fighting, by May 2017, forces of the 5th military district of Hady’s loyalists suffered signifiicant casualties. An example of this is a dilapidated cemetery in the desert, where tombstones are made of concrete debris.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Despite the Houthis’ resistance, by April, the Southern Movement has quite successfully advanced along the coast of Taiz and captured more settlements. Meanwhile, Hadi’s forces were at a standstill in Midi, alternately giving and taking back desert areas north of the city. On the  same time, the command of the Sudanese army expressed a desire to join the operation to capture al Hudaydah from the northern direction. At the same time the 2nd and then 3d Al Hazem brigades were formed.

On May 22, 2017 a new brigade expirienced an extremely unsuccessful combat debut. On that day, 17 soldiers were killed and 4 officers were injured, a battle tank was damaged and a few pickups were burnt in Midi. Evidence of that incident cabe be found online.

In the summer, the Sudanese, by that time reinforced with equipment from the KSA, unsuccessfully attempted to capture Midi and only by the end of August, they (whose number was probably bigger than Hadi loyalists) were able to enter the eastern suburbs of Midi.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

The Sudanese participated in clashes intensively as never before. On September 25, one of the commanders of the Sudanese Armed Forces, General Muhammed Hamdan Hamidati, acknowledged the death of 412 Sudanese soldiers, including fourteen officers (!). For comparison, until May 13, the official losses had been only eight servicemen. Four hundred and four Sudanese died in just over four months, the majority in Midi.

The next major flight in which the Sudanese took place was on January 20, 2018. 37 Sudanese soldiers were killed and two Sarsar-1 vehicles were abandoned. Many photos of dozens of Sudanese servicemen killed on that day were found without difficulties on Facebook, including a photo of an officer. Furthermore, content covering the incident was found from the both sides.

An area in Midi, photographed from the UAV at the end of January 2018, is shown below. On February 4, nineteen Sudanese servicemen were were buried in the cemetery of al-Bakia in Medina.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

The final chord sounded on April 5, during the last days of the city’s defense. The Sudanese brigade advanced on the city, and as twice before, achieved little results. Two armoured personnel carriers were lost and at least a dozen of Sudanese soldiers was killed. The total losses could be several dozens of soldiers, including several high-ranking officers.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

Only a week later the Sudanese and Hadi forces managed to occupy the northern part of the city, ending the “nightmare named Midi”, as one of the pro-Saudi journalists from Hadi’s army wrote.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

While servicemen of the first brigade who do not like to share photos on Facebook, the border brigades are more than ready compensate for this shortcoming. In addition to hundreds of postcards and selfie photos, which make up approximately 75% of the content, it was found that the Sudanese of the 2nd and 3rd Al Hazem brigades, in the words of the classics from the First channel, “live cheerily but briefly”. In addition to visiting the Shrine in the Forbidden Mosque, they visit government’s events and shops in Saudi Arabia, get paid in Saudi riyals (of which they are very proud), play football, organise concerts. Not war, but a real spa resort!

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The Sudanese field camp is located somewhere in the border area of Jizan, often the town of Ahad Al-Masarihah in Jizan is marked as the location in the uploaded photos. So, it can be suggested that the camp’s location is a deserted area near the town of Al-Tuwal, almost on the border. The landing site, judging by the frequent location, could be in the port of El-Washim in Jizan.

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Chapter 7 – Border

By 2018, the role of the Sudanese forces in the protection of the Saudi border had increased significantly; besides Midi and Harad in the province of Hajj, the Sudanese have been repeatedly spooted in the sights of cameras (as well as rifles of the Houthis) in other locations, but there are little details on the Sudanese involvement on other border fronts.

The Sudanese and/or their Sarsar-1 vehicles were seen on three other fronts: Jabal Marran (Al Dhaher, Shadaa and Razih areas), at the border with Jizan, Alib (Baqim district) on the border of Asir and Al Buqa on the border with Najran. At the end of 2017 this information was confirmed indirectly through obituaries. However, by April 2018 the Houthis have shown passports and bodies of the killed Sudanese soldiers on the border. Yemeni mercenaries operating on the side of the Saudi-led coalition were killed in the  same area.

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There are increasing rumours in the media that the KSA military for some reason is planning to replace Hadi’s fighters with soldiers of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and there have been allegations on the possible arrival of the military from Chad. So far, this information has not been one hundred percent confirmed, although some Sudanese soldiers have friends from Chad, and vice versa.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

It is obvious that the KSA government has long been trying to push the Houthis away from its southern borders by all means, while reducing the participation of its military to a minimum, and as a result, to reduce own losses of equipment and personnel.

Chapter 8 – Losses of the Sudanese Armed Forces

It is still unknown how many personnel have been lost. The first Sudanese died at the end of January 2016, and by the beginning of May 2017, the Sudanese army had officially lost eight servicemen, which is quite low. However, after the bloody fighting in the Midi region, in just four months losses, according to official data, increased to 412 fighters. This is 100 servicemen per month (!). Given the fact that the intensity of the fighting since September has increased significantly and taking into account the following six months (October 2017 to April 2018) the Sudanese losses could exceed 1,000 to 1,200 servicemen. In addition, at some point the dead Sudanese were no longer taken home and were buried in cemeteries in Saudi Arabia.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War

The loss of equipment is also significant:


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Three of the four Т-72АV battle tanks were lost in battles; the fourth battle tank was last seen on April 12 during the fighting for Midi.

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Presumably, three armoured personnel carriers were lost in Midi and another was hit in al Hudaydah. The fate of five more APC-70MB1, abandoned during clashes with the Houthis in Taiz, is unknown.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War


On the border, at least twelve Sudanese-made armoured vehicles were lost, some of which were also handed over to Hadi’s army units fighting in the same region. The exact number of Sarsar-1 vehicles at the border could be 20-30, according to photo and video materials.

Sudanese Forces In Yemeni War


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