November 18-24: Taʻiz offensive slows, no new peace talks scheduled

Although it has been over a week since the new round of the UN-sponsored peace talks was supposed to be held, the representatives of the warring parties have not yet convened. Meanwhile, airstrikes and fighting continues in seven areas of Yemen—Taʻiz, Marib, Lahj, Shabwah, al-Dhaliʻ, Ibb, and al-Baydha—and outside three Saudi cities near the border. The UN special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, continues to push for this new session, which is now reportedly expected to take place in Geneva in mid-December. Over the weekend, delegates from the Houthi Movement and the General People's Congress party (GPC) flew once again to the Omani capital, Muscat, after they announced their acceptance of the UN envoy's invitation. On Tuesday, Prime Minister/Vice President Khaled Bahah met with the US ambassador to Yemen, Matthew Tueller, in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. During the meeting he assured Tueller that his government is ready for the peace talks on the condition that the Houthis and their allies are “serious and honest” in implementing UN resolution 2216, which calls for their withdrawal from Sanʻa and other areas pro-Houthi forces have captured.

It's been nearly 10 days since the ground offensive was launched to “liberate” the central governorate of Taʻiz: the clashes have been chiefly taking place in the western districts of al-Wazi'iyah, Dhubab and Mowzaʻ, and a few eastern fronts. The pro-Houthi/Saleh forces have retreated from a number of positions there amid heavy airstrikes, but coalition forces and resistance fighters haven’t been able to advance toward Taʻiz city due to landmines planted by Houthi/Saleh forces. Inside the city, rocket bombardments by pro-Houthi/Saleh forces have targeted residential areas as clashes take place in downtown and on the outskirts of Taʻiz.

In Marib governorate, the clashes continue to take place in the western district of Sirwah. PM Bahah briefly visited Marib for less than an hour. His visit on Sunday along with a number of ministers was intended as a morale boost for the local resistance fighters. The Houthi/Saleh forces have reportedly gained a mountainous strategic position in Kawfal area and are still holding a number of positions in Sirwah district.

Sporadic clashes have also continued to take place in the governorates of Shabwah, al-Dhaliʻ, Ibb, and al-Baydha.

In the southeastern province of Hadhramawt, the toll of the first IS-claimed suicide attack on Friday has risen to 18 soldiers and 17 jihadi militants.