Abu Dhabi – A campaign to drive Al Houthis from Yemen’s main port of Hodeida, which resumed this month after peace talks failed, will not be halted again until the city is captured, a Yemeni southern commander said on Thursday.
Aidaroos Al Zubaidi’s Southern Resistance Movement has 20,000 men positioned in Hodeida, providing the bulk of a ground force that is trying to capture Yemen’s main port city from Al Houthis, who control the capital Sana’a.
UAE-led troops launched a major offensive in Hodeida in June this year but suspended it after several weeks to allow the possibility for UN-brokered peace talks. The campaign resumed this month after Al Houthis failed to attend the talks.
On Wednesday, Zubaidi’s Giants Brigade said it was reinforcing its lines in Hodeida, sending more men, armoured vehicles and heavy artillery. “The civilian lives are very precious and all the coalition’s operations in the air and sea are taking into consideration the civilian casualties, but the military operation has begun and there will be no going back,” Al Zubaidi told Reuters in an interview in Abu Dhabi.
“In all the wars across the world, there is always humanitarian suffering. But we are looking beyond the liberation of Hodeida which will be in the interests of the city’s population,” said Al Zubaidi. “The battle of Hodeida is continuing and the war is not over.”
The anti-Al Houthi coalition says it has seized the road linking Hodeida to Sana’a to isolate the two cities. Al
Zubaidi characterised the fighting around Hodeida as “hit-and-run style with the enemy, and the resistance forces with all their factions have fought heroically.” He dismissed suggestions that the aim of resuming the offensive was to put pressure on the UN envoy over the peace talks.