How the UAE drones changed the battle course in Marib?


Thu, 25-02-2021 11:58 PM, Aden

South24| Correspondent

Back again, the UAE returns to play a major role in the Saudi led Coalition which has been leading a desperate battle against Houthi rebels in the western and southern areas of the oil-rich Marib province, the last foothold in North Yemen for the internationally recognized government.

On Wednesday, a top commander in the pro-Yemen government forces said, that the UAE is playing a significant role in the battles in Marib for over a week now. This coincided with arrival of military commanders from UAE-backed Guards of the Republic and Amalika Brigade forces fighting the Houthi rebels in the western Coast. 

"The UAE drones have changed the battle course in Marib and Al Jawf since the beginning of the current week" said the Yemeni military commander who asked to remain anonymous.

"Hundreds of strikes were launched by the UAE Aerial capabilities. These strikes thwarted the Houthi large-scale offensive towards Marib city from areas west of the dam and revived the spirit among tribal fighters and pro-government forces fighting the Houthis western and Southern Marib" the commander said.

"The strikes launched by the UAE drones targeted top Houthi field leaders and gatherings in Sirwah and Al Kassarah front with precision and launched several airstrikes targeting Houthi gatherings in Al Hamra hill and near Hailan mountain" the military commander added.

The military commander said UAE aerial capabilities have turned the tide across the battle ground to deter the Houthi offensive in Marib, not just through the direct engagement in the airstrikes but also through reconnaissance missions, which played a major role in countering the capabilities of Houthi forces and deepened the cracks within their ranks.

"The UAE aerial capabilities played an efficient role on the ground through monitoring targets among the Houthi ranks. This helped tremendously in directing airstrikes against major targets", resulting in high casualties, the military commander explained. 

The UAE seems to play a new significant role in the battle with the Houthis around Marib, which reflects a Saudi desire following a series of setbacks for the pro-government forces in Marib and Al Jawf. The Yemeni forces, which were fully backed by the Coalition, have failed to deter the Houthi offensive towards Marib and Al Jawf on their own despite huge support from received from the Coalition since the war began in 2015.

Pro-government forces in Mareb, mostly aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate al-Islah party, have lost vast territory since the Houthis expanded their offensive from eastern Sadah province into western al-Jawf a year ago, and Nehm front escalation launch last summer into western Mareb.

The same government forces pulled back from strategic sites between Marib and Al Jawf later in 2020, which emboldened the Houthis to take over western al-Jawf province and advance towards Marib, the last stronghold of the Yemeni government in North Yemen.

The return of UAE backed forces to the battle ground in Marib, after withdrawing its troops in Oktober 2019, indicates a commitment by Coalition partners in the fight against Houthis, a turning point aiming to drive Houthi rebels out of the oil-rich province.

The arrival of the UAE backed troops from the western Coast proves that the UAE can play a new major role once again in North Yemen, where the UAE played a vital role in the liberations of South Yemen.