Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hajjah, Yemen: Army Forces Cut Off Major Houthi Land, Sea Supply Routes | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view shows the damage to a car salvage yard that was hit by a Houthi rocket in an industrial area in eastern Najran city, Saudi Arabia August 27, 2016. REUTERS/Katie Paul

Taiz- Considered one of the largest and most popularly crowded areas in Yemen, Hajjah Governorate has become a notorious target for coup militias. The area is home to substantial raw materials and unique topography.

Iran-aligned Houthi militants have their sight set on Hajjah, in hopes of dominating two of its vital districts Harad and Midi.

Bordered by the Red Sea, Hajjah receives great attention and effort of Yemen national army units seeking to curb the influx of arms supply to insurgency militias, said military officials and analysts. Hajjah also borders militia overrun capital Sana’a and acts as a main pump line for arms.

Midi and Harad are bordered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—Midi rests at the Red Sea’s coastal line, and shares maritime borders with the kingdom, a Yemen army official told Asharq Al-Awsat when explaining Hajjah’s strategic importance.

Such locations are considered military priorities, not only that but also effect the militias’ economic status—Houthi combatants have been taking advantage of the Midi coastal borders to receive Iranian support. But after securing control over Hajjah, coup militias now have another central supply route cut off, added the official.

Brig. Mohsen Khasrouf confirmed that the Midi and Harad are effectively under army control and pro-government forces, balancing the army’s military influence across the Saada, Hodeidah, and triangle.

Saudi-led Arab coalition air power pounded Houthi positions in Yemen’s western Hodeidah province, one day after Houthi militiamen reportedly attacked a Saudi warship.

Iran-backed Houthis and loyalists fighting on behalf ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, making up the insurgents, together save no effort in recapturing Hajjah, however it is a far reach, said Brig. Khasrouf.

He added that army units have locked down control over the districts falling on supply routes, but Houthis have planted moles, and land mines are woven throughout the districts’ infrastructures, which are still under clearance.

In some cases, Houthi militants have barricaded themselves in homes among civilians, said Brig. Khasrouf.

In 2014, the Houthis overran Sana’a and other parts of Yemen, forcing members of the country’s Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

The following year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a major air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains in Yemen and shoring up the pro-Saudi government.