Saudi-Backed Forces Retake Yemen Air Base

Saudi-Backed Forces Retake Yemen Air BaseSaudi-Backed Forces Retake Yemen Air Base

Forces loyal to Yemen’s fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi recaptured the country’s biggest air base from the Houthis on Tuesday after a 24-hour clash using heavy armor supplied by a Saudi-led coalition, Hadi’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The statement said loyalist forces would advance against the Houthis to complete the “liberation” of the provinces of Lahej and Abyan, Middle East Eye reported.

Retaking the Al-Anad Air Base, a 40-sq.-km complex, including hangars and warehouses, would pave the way for pro-Hadi forces to push further north, toward the city of Taiz, against the Houthis, who have support on the ground from fighters close to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the area.

However, Houthi forces are still in control of the capital Sana’a and large swathes of the country.

Just before the assault began, Saudi-backed fighters were armed with new weapons, including armored vehicles supplied by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the news agency reported.

Adam Baron, a visiting fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations,said the UAE appears to have played a key role in aiding the forces that took Al-Anad. He added that exiled vice president and prime minister, Khaled Bahah, is currently in Abu Dhabi.