As another month of war comes to a close, a peaceful resolution to Yemen’s conflict is no closer. UN-backed talks in the Omani capital, Muscat, seem to be doomed to failure; a Scud missile, reportedly fired from Yemen’s capital towards the Saudi city of Jaizan, was seen as a sign of determination and a message of defiance from the Houth-Saleh alliance; a fresh battle is taking shape in al-Hudaydah; Houthis and their allies have regained more positions in Taʻiz; troops from the Saudi-led coalition, deployed recently in Marib, have already advanced on Shabwah and will return to the neighboring governorates of Marib and al-Jawf ahead of the expected Sanʻa battle, while a brigade involving at least 5000 troops from the Southern Popular Resistance in Aden city has been formed to take charge of the city’s security. At least eight cities have been hit by the airstrikes over the past week, where scores of civilians have reportedly been killed, while Houthi-Saleh units continued to intensify their cross-border attacks on Saudi army installations. The UN special envoy, currently based in Muscat, has been pushing for a political settlement since early last week, but the exiled government in Riyadh is sticking to its previous demand that the Houthis withdraw from occupied cities and hand over their arms prior to any further negotiations. The Houthis, however, warned they would carry out “a disastrous response” if the Muscat talks failed. On Wednesday, a Scud missile was fired from Sanʻa, targeting a power plant in the Saudi city of Jaizan.
In the western coastal governorate of al-Hudaydah, clashes erupted in the southern town of al-Durayhimi between tribal fighters from the Zaraniq tribe and Houthis as they were trying to send reinforcement to Taʻiz. Houthi forces seem poised to take control of the road to Taʻiz, where they have also retaken some western districts.
In the southeastern province of Shabwah, Apache helicopters were seen supporting the Saudi-led coalition forces that advanced to liberate the area late on Friday. Dozens of Houthis were reportedly killed. But in the neighboring governorate of Marib, fighting escalated over the weekend, with the Houthis gaining ground after reportedly using rockets and missiles in the battle.