Native Yemeni mercenaries, including officers and sheiks, have abandoned the Saudi Coalition and returned to their homes after being offered general amnesty by the Houthi-allied Yemeni army.
AL-DALI, YEMEN — Throughout Yemen, drivers are queuing up for hours hoping to get a can of fuel from overcrowded petrol stations. The fuel shortage comes as the Saudi-led Coalition and its allied mercenaries in Aden are preventing tankers laden with oil from entering Hodeida port, Yemen’s largest entry point. Nine tankers have been prevented from docking so far, worsening an incredibly dire situation, described by the UN as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The Saudi-led Coalition has also prevented the central bank of Yemen in the southern port of Aden from supplying banks with foreign currency, blocking the flow of much-needed goods into the country. Yemen’s central bank has effectively been divided in two, with a Saudi-backed branch operating out of Aden working against the other branch based in Sana`a. This has led to currency shortages and inability to pay government workers in areas of Yemen not controlled by the Coalition.
Yemeni military forces loyal to the Houthis have responded to the Coalition’s economic warfare against the country by waging a fierce military campaign in Yemen’s southern regions, where the Coalition’s economic stranglehold is most acute.
On Thursday, a Yemeni military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a domestically-designed and manufactured Qasef K2 (Striker K2) combat drone targeted the headquarters of the Coalition in the city of Burayqah in Aden, killing and injuring mercenary forces loyal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In the al-Dali province, a fierce campaign by Yemeni military forces loyal to the Houthis has seen significant success since it began two weeks ago. And in the past weeks, the Yemeni military has captured dozens of cities, villages, and military sites in the country’s southern al-Bayda and al-Dali provinces from al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Saudi Coalition fighters. According to Yemeni military experts, the recent gains are a clear sign of a changing balance of power in favor of the Houthis.
Houthi-allied fighters supported by local tribes also launched a campaign to retake the al-Hasha district of southern Yemen’s Dhalea Province. The al-Hasha operation was performed in three separate campaigns all converging in the center of the directorate. In total, the three campaigns succeeded in taking over 124 military sites from Saudi Coalition forces in less than 48 hours. The spokesman of the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, declared al-Hasha liberated on Wednesday. Saree promised that Yemen’s army would continue to advance in the country’s south as long as the unjust economic war continues, pointing out the keenness of the leadership to restore security and stability and normalize the situation in the liberated areas.
On the Yemeni-Saudi border, fierce fighting continues as Houthi fighters advance into Saudi Arabia. Dozens of Sudan mercenaries were reportedly killed when Yemen military forces loyal to the Houthis attacked and captured a Saudi military site east of Al Dud mountain in the kingdom’s Jizan region on Thursday.
Later in the day, the Yemeni army captured Saudi military sites in the al-Nar mountain region and Jafan district in Jizan, Saudi Arabia. Three Saudi military sites were also captured in Saudi Arabia’s southern border region of Najran, situated only 900 kilometers south of the Saudi capital. Riyadh.
Return of native mercenaries offered amnesty
Infuriated by the Coalition’s policy of starvation, native Yemeni mercenaries, including officers and sheiks, have abandoned the Coalition and returned to their homes after being offered general amnesty by the Houthi-allied Yemeni army. Meanwhile, major reconciliation efforts are taking place between the Houthi and local mercenaries as hundreds of prisoners captured on the battlefield fighting alongside coalition forces have been released.
The al-Hosn (Castle) tribe, which calls the Directorate of Khawlan home and is among the largest of Yemen’s tribes, received dozens of free prisoners on Thursday, including Colonel Ali Nasser Hajar, commander of the 3rd battalion, who fought alongside Coalition forces for four years. “We finally realized the enormity of the mistake we made when we joined the Coalition, which kills and starves our people,” Colonel Hajar told local residents as they celebrated his return.
Ansar Allah welcomed the returnees, saying that the homeland is enlarged for all Yemenis. Mohammed AbduSalam, a spokesman for Ansar Allah, said:
We welcome the return to the homeland of individuals, soldiers, officers, leaders, and social, scientific and tribal figures. The homeland will accommodate all its people. Yemen`s renaissance will advance only by partnership and building a modern and just country and facing the threats that target everyone.”
Feature photo | Coalition-backed Yemeni mercenaries advance on the Red Sea port town of Mocha, Yemen Jan. 11 2017. Photo | AP
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.