Anti-Houthi fighters retake Yemen's Aden airport

Anti-Houthi fighters retake Yemen's Aden airport
Southern resistance fighters battle the Houthis for control of the south's main city Aden, with the fall of the airport their first major victory.
2 min read
14 July, 2015
Aden is the former capital of South Yemen [AFP].

Anti-Houthi fighters in south Yemen seized Aden's airport on Tuesday as they launched a new offensive against the rebels, supported by Saudi-led warplanes and ships, military sources said.

The fighters from the Popular Resistance also pushed back the northern Houthi rebels and their allies, army units loyal to the country's ex-president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, from areas within the war-torn port city, the sources said.

Warships off the coast of Aden took part in the battle which a presidential official said was part of a new military campaign to regain control of all of the city.

Exiled President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi is "personally supervising the operation" dubbed "Operation Golden Arrow for the Liberation of Aden," said his office director Mohammed Marem from Aden.

However, many southern fighting units in Aden are secessionists, and are not particularly loyal to Hadi, who is himself a southerner.

Soldiers of the 39th Armoured Brigade had captured Aden's airport on March 25 after switching allegiance to the Houthi rebels.

The Houthi-Saleh forces have since gone on to seize the presidential palace and other parts of Aden, the second largest city in Yemen and its main sea port.

Military sources in Aden have said that Hadi-allied fighters were now benefitting from ground support from Yemeni forces recently trained in Saudi Arabia, in addition to sophisticated weapons delivered by the coalition.

"Forces recently trained in Saudi Arabia are strongly participating in the fighting alongside the Popular Resistance," said one source, adding that these troops succeeded in cutting off rebels' supply routes in parts of the city.

Retaking the airport of Aden is the first significant achievement for anti-Houthi fighters since Hadi fled the port city late March due to an all-out rebel offensive.

The Houthis overran Sanaa in September unopposed and, with Saleh's troops by their side, went on to expand their control to several regions.