Fighting has been concentrated around Sa 'dah in the northwestern region.

Despite resistance from Saudi forces, Houthi rebels in northern Yemen claim that they have gained more ground on the Yemeni-Saudi border. The Kingdom is already concerned about activity on that border, which stretches 1,500 km, and has plans to erect high-tech fence to prevent infiltration.

The Houthis are a Shia rebel group in mostly Sunni Yemen that has been fighting the Yemeni government since 2004. As of this summer, Yemen intensified its battle against the rebels  in an offensive known as “Operation Scorched Earth.” Saudi Arabia’s involvement in this conflict goes beyond concerns about their porous southern border. Sunni Saudi Arabia has a history of priding itself on protecting other Sunni countries and fears that Shia Iran is using the Houthis to fight a proxy war against the Kingdom.

Last week, Houthi fighters lead a raid into Saudi territory and killed a Saudi soldier. As a result, Saudi forces have joined the conflict using fighter jets with phosphorous bombs. “Saudi combat fighter jets launched intense raids against border areas inside Yemeni territory on Sunday night,” the fighters’ spokesman Mohammad Abdessalam told AFP by telephone. “The Saudi military used phosphorus bombs during those night raids, burning mountainous regions.”

The Saudis maintain that their fighters have only targeted Houthis in Saudi territory. However, the Houthis accuse the Saudis of attacking their villages- villages they claim lay in economic ruin because of the neglect of the Yemeni government.  Aid organizations roughly estimate that over 150,000 people have fled the border region since the Houthis began fighting in 2004.


  1. 1 Blurry Yemen: Shia v. Sunni, Sunni v. Houthi, Iran v. Saudi Arabia, or . . . « (pressed)

    […] place this summer in an engagement known as “Operation Scorched Earth.” Recently, Saudi forces have joined the battle because of alleged Houthi incursions across the border into their territory. Now the world is […]

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