The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the video footage and statement from Yemen Houthis on Sunday claiming a major attack on Saudi Arabia was launched in August that killed or wounded 500 soldiers with thousands of others surrendering.
Yahya Saree, a Houthi military spokesman, described an ambush on the Saudi forces as an “all-out” cross-border offensive that trapped Saudi troops inside Saudi Arabia.” Saree said that “more than 200 were killed in dozens of [missile and drone] strikes while trying to escape or surrender.”
Yemeni Houthi rebels have released footage of what they say was a victorious offensive on the border with Saudi Najran province. It shows scores of captured military troops, including what seem to be Saudi officers, and hardware.
The footage was broadcast on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV channel on Sunday. The video features a Houthi spokesman explaining the details of the military operation, which they’d dubbed ‘Victory from God,’ as well as live action footage from the ground.
The offensive began a couple of days ago but is said to have been planned over several months. Three Saudi-led brigades were ultimately led into a major ambush, the spokesman claimed. The battle against the brigades – said to be some 7,000-strong in total – took place on Yemeni soil close to the border with the Saudi Arabian province of Najran.
The Houthi-released footage features an ambush on a large military convoy traveling on a narrow road amid mountains. The convoy consisted primarily of armored personnel carriers, which appear to be Canadian LAV-25s.
The convoy is targeted with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), artillery and small arms fire, with the opposing forces seen panicking and trying to flee, while several vehicles are hit and some even crashed into a ravine. The full footage shows some corpses, while scores of captured fighters are being led away.
Many military vehicles – ranging from US-made Oshkosh mine-resistant vehicles to assorted Toyota-based gun trucks – are seen abandoned in the footage. Some of the machines are burnt-out by the Houthi fighters on the spot, while others – including APCs with six-barrel rotary cannon – are driven away.
Apart from dozens of armored and soft vehicles, the Houthis have apparently captured lavish munition caches, having raided the base camps of the brigades. The group has shown off scores of small arms, ammo crates, rocket launchers and other equipment seized from their adversaries.
Also recorded was a large number of fighters surrendering to the Houthis, as well as scores of combatants who’d been killed. The majority of them – including child soldiers – are said to have been recruited from the local population. The surrendering and fleeing forces were allegedly targeted by Saudi aircraft, with the Houthis saying the bombing runs inflicted heavy casualties on them.
— Press TV (@PressTV) September 29, 2019
Houthis claim that some 2,000 people have been captured in total.
Apart from locals, foreign nationals, including “senior” Saudi officers, are shown among the prisoners. A number of people in military uniforms with Saudi insignias appear in the video. Armored vehicles with Saudi markings can be seen among the trophies as well.
So far, Saudi Arabia has not produced any statement regarding the Houthi claims and the alleged casualties its military and affiliated units have sustained.
The offensive appears to be the second major blow delivered to Riyadh by the Yemeni rebels in just a month. Earlier in September, a major Saudi oil refinery came under drone and missile attacks claimed by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia, as well as the US and its allies, however, shifted the blame for the attacks on Iran, while admitting they did not know the actual launch site. Tehran has strongly denied its involvement.
The war in Yemen has been raging since 2015, after the Houthis rebellion ousted US- and Saudi-backed President Abdraduh Mansur Hadi and captured the nation’s capital, Sanaa. In response, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies launched an invasion of Yemen, trying to reinstall Hadi. The land operations, as well as an indiscriminate aerial bombing campaign has taken a heavy toll on Yemeni civilians, while a sea and air blockade has led to large-scale cholera epidemic and has put millions on the brink of famine.