Houthis ‘on the run’

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri
Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri

The Saudi-led coalition has the Houthis on the run in Yemen, having isolated them in various parts of the country and targeted their main arms depots and supply routes, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

During his daily media briefing at Riyadh Air Base on Thursday, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri, consultant in the office of the defense minister, said that these victories have been achieved with precise airstrikes. The navy had helped identify targets, he said.

Al-Assiri said the former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and his supporters have been falsely claiming that they are gaining the upper hand in the conflict. He said this was untrue and that their numbers have been reduced significantly since operations began 14 days ago.

Al-Assiri said enemy combatants had resorted to stealing vehicles to use in their operations, and have been aided by some well-known Yemenis. “Some of them are sheikhs. We have targeted them and other sites in the southern part of the country so that it will be difficult for them to communicate with each other,” he said.

He said the Houthis’ armored vehicles have been targeting houses and buildings but this has been countered with airstrikes. “We have targeted their gatherings against the legitimate Yemeni government.”

“We have also targeted their ammunition depots and storage sites because they might attack civilians again and blame it on the coalition, as they did previously,” he said.

He said the coalition would do “what is necessary” if two Iranian military ships sent to the Gulf of Aden brings arms for the Houthi fighters.

Meanwhile, Al Arabia reported that the Gulf Cooperation Council is due to reject Russian amendments to a UN draft resolution banning arms to Houthis.

Russia and Venezuela have objected to the draft United Nations resolution that would ban arms shipments to leaders of Houthi rebels and the country’s former president and his son to try to halt their military campaign against supporters of the president.

In another development, the US has started daily aerial refueling for warplanes in the coalition, the Pentagon has said.

The first refueling flight took place on Tuesday night with a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker providing fuel for a F-15 fighter jet operated by Saudi Arabia and an F-16 flown by the UAE, spokesman Col. Steven Warren told reporters.


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