Skip to main content

Saudi-led coalition pushes back on reports of troop withdrawals from Yemen

The Gulf coalition's denial comes amid reports of Saudi troop withdrawals from al-Mahra governorate.
 fighter loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed government takes position at the frontline facing Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has denied reports of troop withdrawals in the country.

Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki al-Maliki told Reuters that reports of Saudi troops pulling out of a major base in Aden in Yemen’s south were “baseless and unfounded,” characterizing recent moves as “redeployment.”

“Movement and redeployment of troops based on operational and tactical assessment” is standard “in all military forces across the world,” Maliki said.

The Gulf coalition’s denial also comes amid local reports that Saudi troops have withdrawn from positions in eastern Yemen’s al-Mahra governorate.

Reuters earlier cited Yemeni security officials and witnesses as saying the Saudis had withdrawn from a base in Aden’s Burayqah neighborhood, loading convoys of troops, artillery and other hardware onto ships in the port.

The drawdown comes amid a renewed push by the United States and the United Nations to convince parties to the conflict to end the war. 

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have taken control of most of the country’s population centers since their uprising picked up speed in 2014. 

An Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened with ground troops and a bombing campaign backed by the United States in 2015. The Saudi-led war effort has been intensely criticized by rights groups and UN investigators for its disregard for civilian casualties

The campaign has also failed to stop the Houthis’ advance. After wide leeway from former President Donald Trump, current President Joe Biden has restricted US support to the Saudi military by cutting off assistance for offensive operations and relevant arms sales.

Riyadh has sought an exit to the war, but the Houthis have ignored a Saudi cease-fire proposal put forth last year. The Yemeni rebels have demanded the Gulf coalition fully lift its blockade of Yemen’s ports and main airport, which has been criticized by the UN.

The Houthis have continued to launch missile and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia. Western officials say the rebels have continued to receive weapons and training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Reuters reported last month that Saudi officials have sought US help to further bolster the kingdom’s defensive capabilities against Houthi attacks.

The Biden administration notified Congress last week of a potential sale of air-to-air missiles to Riyadh that it said are commonly used by the Royal Saudi Air Force to shoot down Houthi projectiles.

A State Department spokesperson described the sale proposal, which requires lawmakers’ approval, as “fully consistent with the administration’s pledge to lead with diplomacy to end the conflict in Yemen while also ensuring Saudi Arabia has the means to defend itself from Iranian-backed Houthi air attacks.”

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial