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Sudanese troops engaging Houthi rebels in Yemen for the first time: report

December 1, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The Yemeni army began a large-scale military battle in order to reclaim al-Sharija area in the province of Lahij south of the country with the participation of units of the Sudanese army which reached Aden a month ago.

Sudanese troops arriving in Aden, Yemen (Al-Arabiya TV)

Qa’id Nasr, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Front that is loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency that the battle has began to lift the siege on Ta’iz province.

"In this battle, units of the Sudanese army are participating [for the first time] with members of the Popular Resistance with an air cover from the [Arab] alliance against Houthi militias and the forces of [former President Ali Abdullah] Saleh,” he said.

850 Sudanese soldiers arrived in the southern city of Aden more than a month ago with the understanding that they will be part of the Arab coalition forces seeking to recapture Ta’iz which is Yemen’s third largest city.

Yemeni security officials at the time told Associated Press (AP) that Sudan plans to send a total of 10,000 soldiers.

The Houthis, based in the north of the country, took over the Yemeni capital of Sana’a in September of last year, eventually driving President Hadi south.

They advanced to take over large swaths of the country, backed by army units loyal to former-President Saleh. In March, Houthis seized government buildings inside Ta’iz and encircled the city.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab nations seeking to flush out Houthi rebels, who they believe are backed by their regional foe of Iran, from towns they overran.

Sudan is the only non-Gulf state with ground troops in Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s closest allies namely Egypt and Pakistan have declined requests by Riyadh to send ground troops to Yemen.