Hudayda Anti-Houthi forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition battled Houthi fighters in Hudayda city, taking control of several areas including the University, the Yaman dairy factory, and the 7 June city. Fatalities are high, with some sources reporting upwards of 600 combat fatalities since the beginning of the month. The port appears to be operating as normal, despite rumors of Houthi mining activity in and around the gates of the port. Clashes slowed by Wednesday, 13 November, as a temporary ceasefire came into effect. See this report for a background on the Hudayda offensive, which picked up intensity last spring as UAE-backed militias joined the offensive and pushed northward.
Intense clashes were likewise fought in Ad-Dali governorate, where UAE-backed Security Belt forces battled Houthi fighters for control of Damt city. Additional battles continued in the north, as soldiers loyal to the internationally recognized president, Abdarabbuh Mansur Hadi approached the Houthi stronghold of Marran, located in the northern governorate of Sadah. Sadah governorate is the home governorate of the Houthi movement, as has largely born the brunt of the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign. Civilian casualties within the governorate are concerningly high, and infrastructure has been damaged beyond repair due to continuous air strikes throughout the war, leading to a spread in water-borne illnesses and disease. For more info on the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Sadah, see this article. For more information on the northern offensive, dubbed “Operation cutting the head off the snake”, see this article.
Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State (IS) militants continued to feud, exchanging rocket and artillery fire as well as clashing in several areas of Qayfah, Al-Bayda governorate. Although both AQAP and IS have continued low-level operations against the Houthis, a majority of the operations reported by both groups this month have involved attacks on each other. Al-Qaeda appears to have been weakened significantly over the past few years in Yemen, a trend that continues. See this report for more information on current trends involving AQAP. US airstrikes against AQAP and IS are likewise at an all-time low, continuing a trend in declining activity throughout the year. See this report for an overview of US involvement in Yemen up to June of 2018.
Throughout the month, Houthi forces have fired several ballistic missiles per week, usually targeting anti-Houthi forces in Saudi Arabia or along the western coastal areas of Hudayda governorate. Houthi fighters likewise continued cross-border attacks into the Saudi provinces of Najran, Jizan, and Asir. The Houthi ballistic missile program and border incursions are a continuing point of stress for the Saudi government. See this report for more information detailing the Houthi attacks on the Saudi border.
Battle of Aden
Intermittent protests continue in the south of the country, with residents expressing dissatisfaction with the Hadi-led government and poor civil services. Assassination attempts on political Islamist leaders have apparently slowed in November, although October proved to be the deadliest month for clerics so far this year. The Southern Transitional Council, an opposition organization backed by UAE-trained militias are said to be meeting with the Saudi government this week. In January of this year, UAE-backed militias loyal to the Southern Transitional council fought in the Battle of Aden, and tension remains high in the southern city of Aden, which currently serves as the temporary capital of the country. See this article for more information regarding the “Battle of Aden”.
Overall levels of violence have continued to increase in the country, largely due to the assault on the port city of Hudayda. Airstrikes, displacement, and continued fighting have destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and Yemen currently the humanitarian crisis in the world. Humanitarian more coordinate Mark Lowcock reported to the UN that the total number of people facing pre-famine conditions, meaning they are entirely reliant on external aid for survival, could soon reach 14 million. (BBC News, 24 October 2018)