Saudi Coalition Beats Back Houthi Rebels from Hodeidah Airport

By Asa Fitch | Wall Street Journal |

Yemeni government vehicles take position in Hodeidah. The battle for the western port city is a potential turning point in Yemen’s more than three-year-old war. Photo: najeeb almahboobi/epa-efe/rex/sh/EPA/Shutterstock

A Saudi-led military coalition said Yemeni forces captured the airport of Hodeidah Wednesday, a milestone in their bid to wrest control of the Red Sea port from Houthi rebels without causing a humanitarian catastrophe.

The battle for Hodeidah is a potential turning point in Yemen’s more than three-year-old war, which pits the coalition of mostly Arab countries against the Houthis, an Iran-aligned political and cultural group that has expanded power from its northern stronghold to much of the country’s west since 2014. Coalition officials told state-backed news agencies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that the city’s strategically important airport was fully captured.

“The airport was completely cleared and is under control now,” said Brig. Gen. Abdul Salaam al-Shehi, the commander of coalition forces on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, in a video tweeted by the U.A.E.’s news agency.

The coalition and its allies are betting that taking Hodeidah from the Houthis will force the rebels into a broader political compromise that removes them from power in the capital, San’a. The U.N.’s Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths is shuttling between Arab capitals to reach an agreement that spares Hodeidah from an all-out attack. Those talks have yet to produce a plan both sides accept, however.

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Source: News Now | The Wall Street Journal |

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