Saudi offensive in Yemen suffers major setback 

February 22, 2022 - 11:45

TEHRAN- In what analysts are describing as yet another defeat for the Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen, a large-scale ground offensive on a Yemeni city near the Saudi border has been met with a counter Yemeni operation. 

The counteroffensive reflects the growing military power of Yemen’s armed forces as details emerge of  Saudi-led forces fleeing back across the border with heavy casualties inflicted and their military vehicles left burning on Yemeni soil. 

Yemen’s military media has published footage documenting the losses of the forces belonging to the Saudi-led coalition in the battle of Harad; a Yemeni city in the strategic province of Hajjah that borders Saudi Arabia as well as the Red Sea. 
The scenes show the Yemeni armed forces repelling a major offensive by the Saudi-led coalition in Harad after Yemen carried out a counter operation to liberate and retake control of large districts in the city. 

According to Yemeni media, the Saudi-led incursion took at least two main paths with the participation of Saudi Arabian brigades and army forces as well as Sudanese militants. The first came southeast of the city towards the al-Hayjah mountain range, and the second south of the city also towards the al-Hayjah mountain range, with the aim of occupying the city from several directions.

Footage from Yemen’s military media shows the Yemeni army and the popular committees were able to confront the Saudi-led forces and inflict heavy losses on both lives and military equipment.

According to Yemeni media, various military units of Yemen’s armed forces participated in the battle. The Saudi-led coalition enjoyed a wide array of air cover including advanced American-made warplanes, spy planes; with plenty of firepowers as well as artillery fire.

Yemen’s own missile and Air Force launched“precision operations” targeting the gatherings and camps of the Saudi-led coalition and its communication networks with ballistic missiles and drones which the Yemeni army says inflicted great losses on the Saudi military.

According to the Yemeni army, an artillery unit managed to double the Saudi-led material and human losses, with continuous and accurate targeting of the coalition’s gatherings and fortifications on Yemeni territory. 

The footage released shows the Yemeni army destroying a large number of Saudi armored vehicles, which were forced to retreat back to the Kingdom.

The scenes also indicate that the Yemeni army and the people's committees successfully launched the counter operation to break the siege on Harad city and advance from the "Al-Husnain region and southeast Harad" to restore the districts and villages.

The footage also shows a number of dead bodies from the Saudi-led coalition, prisoners falling into the hands of Yemeni forces; and a mass escape of soldiers, militants, and armored vehicles while under attack by the Yemeni army. The footage also shows, what Yemeni reports say, is a part of what the army seized from the Saudi-led coalition including various vehicles, weapons, and ammunition.

Yemeni media say the losses of the Saudi-led coalition amounted to more than 580 dead and wounded, including more than 200 deaths. The fatalities and injured are said to include members of the Saudi Arabian army as well as Sudanese militants. 

More than “40 military vehicles and armored vehicles, including a communications vehicle and minesweeper”, were destroyed, burned, and “more than 60 Katyusha missiles were destroyed, a CH4 spy plane, a small spy plane, and seven heavy and medium weapons were damaged and destroyed”, the army said. 

The scenes show the army and committees were able to target Saudi soldiers, pursuing their vehicles, damaging them while others are seen burning. The footage also documents the advance of the Yemeni army and the committees towards the positions of the coalition forces, and how they regained control of them after those forces fled and withdrew, despite the coalition’s planes bombing the battle zone; in an attempt to obstruct the advance of Yemeni forces.

However, as a result of the Yemeni army’s latest ground achievement, heavy air raids by the Saudi-led coalition resulted in a number of Yemeni civilian casualties; in particular a direct hit on the house of Ahmed Muhammad Tamri.

Yemeni reporters in Hajjah say that one person was killed and eight wounded from the same family, most of them women and children, including an elderly person; which they described as a preliminary outcome as residents were still removing rubble and debris from the family home. 

Later, journalists reported that the number of wounded had risen to ten, including seven children, aged between one and a half and 14 years.

A member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, has condemned the targeting of the family home. He stressed that continuing to target the Yemeni people is a war crime and deliberate terrorism.

Meanwhile, a private Yemeni military source has told the Lebanese based Al-Mayadeen news channel that the Saudi-led coalition forces “advanced on Harad from the south and the east, and surrounded the entire city, imposing a siege that lasted six days”. 

The Yemeni military source spoke about the details of the battle of Harad, stressing that "the setback of the Saudi-led coalition in Harad is the largest of its kind, and the battles that took place were very violent."

According to the source, "the operation of the Saudi forces on the city of Harad is the largest among all previous operations on the same front, and it began on February 4, 2022," noting that "the Saudis formed forces from ten brigades. Among the forces were two Saudi battalions and a brigade of Sudanese “mercenaries”.

The source also explained that "the military force of mercenaries was established under an agreement between the Saudi leadership, the commander of the joint forces of the coalition, Brigadier Mutlaq Al-Azima," and "it was agreed that Saudi Arabia would pay the late salaries from the beginning of 2021 to the mercenaries, and pay 15,000 Saudi riyals for each fighter”.

The source also indicated that "the Saudi enemy's operation lasted for six days, during which they imposed a military siege on the city, and closed all its entrances during these days."

The source continued: "With the siege imposed on Harad, the enemy failed to make any progress towards the city, then retreated, then repeated its attacks dozens of times and failed."

The source explained that "the coalition forces surrounded the entire city, imposing a siege for six days, before collapsing under the strikes of the [Yemeni] army and committees from inside and outside Harad”. 

The military source said that "the attacks of the [Yemeni] army and the popular committees continued, and were able to expand the region of ​​open areas leading to Harad in an unprecedented manner," noting that "after the siege was lifted from Harad, the Yemeni armed forces imposed a more comprehensive and larger military cordon on the coalition fighters from outside the city”. 

The source stated that "the Saudi coalition forces mobilized their heavy weapons, rockets, and artillery, at the outskirts of Harad, and proceeded to bombard the city with artillery, warplanes, tanks, and missiles, in the most violent manner since the beginning of the aggression. After that, the coalition forces incurred hundreds of deaths, including a large number of leaders in the offensive”. 

As for the Yemeni missile force, the source says it "carried out heavy strikes, which sometimes amounted to ten missiles per night, targeting the gathering points of the enemy forces, vehicles, and individuals, and destroying the communications of the Saudi-led forces”.

This is while the Yemeni sniper unit contributed “to thwarting the progress of the Saudi-led forces, and achieved record numbers of dead”. 

According to the source, "swarms of spy and warplanes took turns flying and bombing the city of Harad, and failed to prevent the collapse," stressing that "the coalition forces tried to establish their control by throwing many of their leaders into the middle of the battle, which doubled their losses and failed to establish their forces on the ground”.

The army forces and the popular committees continue to launch their operations in more than one axis in different directions to liberate districts adjacent to Harad.

Military experts say that the military losses of the Saudi-led coalition in Harad is a reflection of its confusion and the Kingdom’s constant search for any type of victory in Yemen.

The war on Yemen began in March 2015.