Jizan, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi security forces have regained control of a large mountainous region from the Huthi rebels who had infiltrated Saudi Arabia last week, routing them from the area. Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz informed the Saudi Press Agency [SPA] that “The Saudi region of Jabal Dokhan is back under full and complete Saudi control.” Informed sources also revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that 155 Huthi insurgents have been arrested in the past 72 hours.
Limited heavy artillery fire could be heard across the Saudi/Yemeni border region on Saturday, and there were reports of sporadic clashes between Huthi rebels and Saudi forces in the Al Ardha province, as well as throughout other border regions.
Asharq Al-Awsat was present in the region at this time, and witnessed a group of Saudi Arabian border guards escorting a group of captured Huthi solders. The Saudi security authorities also arrested around a dozen Yemenis suspected of being involved with the Huthi insurgents in the Ahad Al Mousaraha governorate on Saturday.
A security source confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that more than 400 members of the Saudi mujahedeen force, in addition to border guards stationed in the region, are monitoring the situation to prevent any Huthi attempt to sneak behind Saudi lines, as well as monitoring the civilian population to prevent any attempts to provide the Huthi forces with intelligence or support.
A curfew has also been imposed in many areas close to the scene of military operations, particularly after dark, as a precaution to prevent Huthi insurgents infiltrating the area.
A medical source confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that only three members of the Saudi security forces have been killed since the beginning of military operations. Border guard Turki al-Qahtani was killed during the first days of this conflict, and two other members of the Saudi security forces died in hospital on Friday following clashes with Huthi insurgents in the border region.
The medical source added that the number 33 members of the Saudi security forces are currently in hospital suffering from injury. However a different medical source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the total number of soldiers injured in this conflict numbers closer to 70, as a large majority of soldiers are discharged from hospital after receiving treatment.
The Directorate of Health Affairs in Jizan also initiated a blood-drive campaign in the region, under the slogan “For you, my country” with many hospitals in the region taking part in this campaign.
Spokesman for the Jizan Health Department, Jibreel Bin Yahya al-Kaabi said that this campaign aims to provide the necessary quantities of blood need to treat those injured in the conflict. He also revealed that as of yesterday hundreds of citizens had donated blood for this purpose. The King Fahd Central Hospital in Jizan also witnessed an influx of Jizan border guards donating blood to their injured comrades.
This coincided with a delegation of Saudi officials visiting Jizan with the aim of determining the nature of the situation in the region. This delegation was led by Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Assistant Chief of General Intelligence, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz, and Health Minister Dr. Abdullah al-Rabeeah.
In a speech on the occasion, Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz hailed the courage of the Saudi armed forces in confronting the Huthi aggressors, and gave reassurances that the situation is under control and morale is high.
Earlier this week Yemeni ambassador to Riyadh, Muhammad al-Ahwal told Asharq Al-Awsat that the infiltration of elements from the Huthist insurrection of Saudi territory were “evasion tactics” backed by forces in the region and aimed at creating a state of chaos and instability.
The Yemeni ambassador went on to say that the audacious action of the Huthist elements against Saudi sovereignty and territorial integrity and the attack on the border guards is a vile deed. In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, the ambassador of Sanaa affirmed that the armed forces in his country and the Yemeni people are capable of “putting an end to this ragtag band.” He added: “In the end, they will come to their inevitable end, namely, the garbage bin of history.” Ambassador Al-Ahwal strongly ruled out that the infringements of the Huthist on the kingdom’s territory will have repercussions on relations between the Saudi and Yemeni peoples, saying that, “The relation between the Saudi and Yemeni peoples is a permanent and strong one. It is not affected by acts here and there. We consider the attack that the Huthist elements perpetrated as sinful and unjustified. It aims at creating confusion in accordance with the schemes of this band.”