Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen’s Iran-backed Shi’ite Houthi militias are retreating from the central oil-rich province of Ma’rib after being defeated by the Yemeni army and local Sunni tribesmen, the governor of the province Sultan Al-Arada said.
“Operation Decisive Storm has played a large role [in the Houthi defeat in Ma’rib]. This operation saved the people of Yemen at a critical time and stood up, thanks to the position taken by the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] and the international community . . . against an attack on Yemen that is supported by Iran,” Arada told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday.
He said the Houthis’ recent coup, backed by Iran, aimed to alter Yemen’s identity and history, and transform the country’s distinct Arab character into a Persian one.
“On behalf of the people of Ma’rib, and the Yemeni people, we thank our Arab brothers and the rest of the international community for standing by Yemen,” Arada said.
The Ma’rib governor said the Houthis’ militias had attacked the governorate from four directions, but had been beaten back by local forces.
“Thank God that the people of Ma’rib were able to stand up and stop the Houthi attacks. The people of Ma’rib assisted the armed forces that are loyal to the legitimate [political authority of internationally recognized President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi] to confront and repel the Houthi attacks. The Houthi militias are now in retreat [in Ma’rib],” he said.
Arada confirmed that local tribes from Ma’rib were now in the process of strengthening cooperation and coordination with Yemen’s military in order to fully secure the central province.