File: During an attempt to open the road between Sanaa and Aden, 12.03.2024 (Screenshot by South24 Center)

Shooting ends hopes of critical Al-Dhalea road opening


Tue, 12-03-2024 10:21 PM, Aden

Aden (South24)

Today, the hopes of re-opening a main road linking Houthi-controlled Sanaa Governorate to the capital, Aden, through Al-Dhalea Governorate, were squandered when shooting erupted in Al-Dhalea.

Local sources informed South24 Center that there were exchanges of fire in the village of Al-Zayla in the Murais area, north of Al-Dhalea Governorate, on the borders between areas under Houthi control and those of the Joint Forces, which consists of the Southern forces and the Local Resistance.

The incident took place after the Houthis, and tribal figures loyal to them, proceeded on an armed march with bulldozers in tow in an attempt to forcefully open the road, which prompted Southern Forces to open fire, according to local sources.

A video clip circulating on Houthi media shows the moment of the shooting, which Houthi officials say left two wounded.

South24 Center was unable to verify the accuracy of the reports of casualties through independent sources.

In an official statement, Southern Forces spokesman Mohammed Al-Naqeeb accused the Houthis of trying to attack their positions under the cover of opening the road.

He said: "This morning, we were surprised by a large armed march mobilized by the Houthis militia, which included a force of heavily armed elements, heading towards the concentration of our forces in the contact zone".

He continued: "Because the matter was based on Houthi military intentions that had nothing to do with the humanitarian aspect, armed Houthi elements attacked our forces with intense fire with light and medium weapons and mortar artillery."

The Houthis announced yesterday that they would be opening the Sanaa – Al-Dhalea - Aden road, under the directions of the group's leader, Abdulmalik Al Houthi. However, local activists and journalists in Al-Dhalea have questioned the Houthis' intentions.

Fadel Al-Jalal, a journalist from Murais, told South24 Center: “The Houthis are not sincere in this step. Why do they carry all these weapons if they want to open the road for the sake of the citizens?”

The Sanaa – Al-Dhalea - Aden Road is one of the most important roads in Yemen, yet has been closed since 2015 due to the war.

In July 2022, the Southern forces opened the road unilaterally as part of an initiative to alleviate the suffering of residents and travelers - a step that the Houthis did not respond to at the time, despite its importance to the residents in their areas.

South24 Center

South YemenAl-DhaleaAdenSanaaHouthisSTCSouthern forcesClashes