Yemeni forces fighting against the Iranian-backed Houthi group stated on Monday they had established full control over oil-rich Shabwa province in a confrontation with the group for control of southern provinces, including Shabwa and neighboring Marib.
The United Arab Emirates-supported Yemeni group, Al Amaliqa Brigade (Giants Brigade), said that the province had been liberated in collaboration with the Saudi-led Arab Coalition after ten days of fighting, from the Houthis occupation.
Since the beginning of the year, clashes have intensified around the region, particularly after the coalition dispatched reinforcement to Shabwa.
In September, the Houthi group blocked access to the Marib, where the Saudi-backed government’s last northern stronghold, by carrying attacks towards the neighboring Shabwa.
The fighting for control between the Houthi group and the Coalition forces has concentrated on Marib for over a year. The battle has also undermined the UN-led peace efforts in the war wrecked country. The government maintains control over the province’s central city and nearby oil and gas infrastructure in the current situation.
The region hosts three million people, including approximately a million internally displaced people who escaped from other parts of Yemen following the Houthis’ capture of the capital of Sanaa in late 2014. It is also a gateway for the southern parts of the country.
Following the liberation of Shabwa province, Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi presented congratulations to military personnel. Holding a phone call with the governor of Shabwa province, Ibn Al-Wazir Al Awlaki, President Hadi praised the role of the army and Al Amaliqa Brigades for the liberation of the province.
Previously, it is occasionally seen clashes between the UAE-backed local groups and the Saudi-led Coalition, especially in the southern part of Yemen. Yet, it is understood that the two sides have engaged in cooperation in recent times against the threat posed by the Houthi group.