Conflicting reports by Saudi, Yemeni officials on claims of ground involvement in Aden

'Limited' number of Saudi-led coalition soldiers land in contested Yemeni city of Aden

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A "limited" number of soldiers from the Saudi-led international coalition have reportedly landed in the heavily contested southern Yemeni city of Aden. 

According to the French state AFP news agency, a small group of soldiers from coalition countries have landed in Aden. 

Early reports suggest that a group of around a few dozen ground soldiers believed to be from Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have come to Aden to conduct reconnaissance operations. 

The Saudi-led international coalition consisting of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait and led by Saudi Arabia began Operation “Decisive Storm” on March 25 in an attempt to prevent Houthi militias from capturing Aden from Yemeni government forces.

Backed by Iran, the Houthis took control of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in September through an armed uprising, causing the Yemeni government to flee to Aden after the group attempted to disband the Yemeni government in January.

Despite the end of the Operation “Decisive Storm” earlier this month, the Saudi-led coalition has continued conducting sporadic strikes.

Yemeni officials confirmed to AP that earlier reports that 20 coalition soldiers are currently in Aden on a reconnaissance were correct.

Yemeni official, who told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the soldiers were indeed in Aden, corroborating other reports.

Another official close to the office of exiled Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour al-Hadi also told AFP that the coalition force “will start helping us in fighting the Huthis and (former president Ali Abdullah) Saleh’s forces”.

"A limited coalition force entered Aden and another force is on its way[to Aden],” they said.

Turkish state run Anadolu Agency reported that residents of Aden claimed that a group of around 30 coalition soldiers used rubber boats Saturday night, before regrouping and heading into the city.

A spokesmen for the pro-government Southern Popular Resistance, Ali al-Ahmed, confirmed reports stating that between 40-50 Arab special forces soldiers had come to assist them in the battle for Aden.

A Saudi government spokesperson told Reuters that there were no foreign soldiers in Aden, but the international coalition was continuing its fight against the Iranian backed Houthi militias vying for control of the country.

Saudi-led coalition spokesman, Ahmed al-Asiri, released a statement Sunday denying all reports of coalition ground involvement.

“There are no foreign forces in Aden but coalition continues to help fight against the Houthi militia,” the statement read.

TRTWorld and agencies