Operation “Decisive Storm” – Day 18 Military Briefing

Published: April 12, 2015

Editor’s Note:

At the conclusion of day 18 (April 12th) of the military campaign in Yemen (Operation “Decisive Storm”) Coalition Forces’ spokesman Saudi Brig. Gen Ahmed Asiri provided a briefing on developments. Here is the daily military briefing report from SPA along with a report on casualties among Houthi rebels and Saudi border forces. [Note: Operation “Decisive Storm” is also called “Determination Storm” in some translations.]

Highlights

  • Defense Ministry claims more than 500 Houthi rebels killed in border clashes
  • Three Saudi NCOs killed, two wounded in border mortar attack
  • Shabwa and Abyan tribes and Lahj and Yafe tribes declared allegiance to President Hadi
  • Humanitarian work “more organized”
  • Three planeloads of Red Cross relief materials delivered
  • Air operations continue at decreased level
  • Air strikes focus on Houthi militia assembly points, “energy stores”
  • Preparations being made to support “popular committees” in Aden and in the north
  • No change in Aden situation, Houthis employing “attack and retreat” tactics
  • Coalition implementing “maritime ban” to prevent militia resupply
  • Coalition forces have not ruled out militias’ seeking “germ and chemical weapons”
  • Saudi troop levels are sufficient to the current threat, no need to open “door to volunteers in the kingdom”
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Defense official source announced the killing of more than 500 Houthi rebels since the start of the storm and martyrdom of three ranker officers and injury of two others yesterday

Riyadh, Jumada II 22, 1436, Apr 11, 2015, SPA — An official source of the Defense Ministry announced today that in the evening of Friday 21 Jumada II 1436 H. corresponding to April 10, 2015 and, as part of the repeated skirmishes between our land forces along the Kingdom’s southern border and the Houthi militias originating from Yemen, the Houthis fired mortar shells on a border control site in Najran Region.

Our troops responded to fire source immediately, inflicting the Houthi militias grave losses, to bring to more than 500, the Houthi rebels human losses in border clashes along the border area in Jazan and Najran sectors since the start of the determination storm operation.

This incident resulted in the martyrdom of three non-commissioned officers and injury of two others, affiliated to the Saudi Royal Land Forces, the official source said, adding that their situation is stable.

—SPA

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Yemeni Tribes Demonstrate Significant Interaction Towards Determination Storm… Humanitarian Work Has Become More Organized, Coalition Forces Spokesman Says

Riyadh, Jumada II 23, 1436, Apr 12, 2015, SPA — Brig. Gen. Ahmed bin Hasan Asiri, Consultant at the Minister of Defense’s Office and Spokesman of the Coalition Forces, said that the military operations carried out by the coalition forces are continuing in a good pace, and achieving the desired goals.

In his daily press briefing held today at Riyadh Airbase, Brig. Gen. Asiri said that there is a significant interaction of Yemen’s tribes with the Determination Storm which stands with the legitimacy, praising the efforts of Shabwa and Abyan tribes and Lahj and Yafe tribes who declared their allegiance to the legitimacy and their full support of the Yemeni President. Asiri stressed that contact is being held with the tribes to coordinate their actions and provide the necessary support for them.

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Asiri also said that the humanitarian work has become more organized in Yemen, where the Red Cross delivered three planes carrying relief materials, adding that coordination is being made with the Red Cross to facilitate its work in the region and to ensure the arrival of supplies.

Asiri explained that the air operations are continuing, focusing on the brigades and Houthi gatherings inside the Yemeni army camps, and on the movements of Houthi militias, although they have decreased compared with the previous period. Work is being made to support the popular committees in Aden and the northern areas of Yemen, especially in Saada and the surroundings, in order to prevent the Houthi militia from taking advantage of military equipment and units as well as logistics bases.

He disclosed that the coalition forces were targeting energy stores to prevent the Houthi militias from using them as they managed to deny ordinary people access to them.

He added that the coalition forces also targeted Brigade 310 in Sanaa, the equipment inventories sites, brigade 22 in Taiz, camps in Matra, affiliated to Razah region in addition to a big number of caves in which Houthi militias were taking refuge and storing military materials.

Asiri said the coalition forces have also targeted some military concentrations in the south of Al-Hodeida as well as some sites inside Sa’ada airport which the Houthi militia tried to retake and use, noting that work is underway to target the stores, concentrations and caves located in mountainous regions around Aden.

On the situation in Aden, Asiri said that nothing is new regarding the military operations there, pointing out that what is happening in Aden is Houthi ‘Attack and Retreat’ operations with moves by the Houthi militias in the City towards the north, but the resistance elements on the ground have foiled those moves. Currently, work is being made to prevent supply to Aden from outside and to deplete these militias so that they lose their ability to move and use ammunition.

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Regarding the ground operations, Asiri said that the Houthi militias seek to move the fight to the borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by dragging the Saudi armed forces to launch ground operations on a larger scale. Yesterday, they targeted one of the border posts in Najran sector. Artillery and Apache helicopters responded to the attack. As a result, three soldiers of the Saudi Armed Forces martyred. Asiri pointed out that work is continuing on the border to prevent these elements from carrying out any act of hostility there.

The Saudi forces take precautions to spare citizens on the border of any damage, stressing that the Kingdom’s borders are secure and stable, and will not be affected by such hostilities.

He reported that the coalition forces are implementing now a maritime ban at the request of the Yemeni government, stressing that the coalition forces will not allow anyone to provide the rebel elements with any kind of supply, and that the coalition forces will apply the procedures in these cases.

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Saudi Ministry of Defense Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri.

Replying to reporters’ questions about how to know the number of dead Houthis during the clashes on the southern border, the coalition spokesman Brigadier Asiri said that the statement was issued by the Ministry of Defence, noting that when there is a military operation on the border, systems that identify the targets are used, in addition to the estimate of individuals or the number of trucks, adding that there are a lot of capabilities such as cameras, video and other devices such as Apache helicopters to gather information. He pointed out that the announcement released yesterday only mentioned the toll at the borders and there are statistics relating to the artillery bombardment against militias’ sites.

On the intention of building facilities that were used by the Houthis to store weapons after the end of the ‘Determination Storm,’ Brigadier Asiri said that the task of the coalition is to focus on the military action basically to make Yemen a safe country, noting that Yemen obtained support from the Arab Gulf States for a long time, and that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invested billions of dollars in Yemen. He added that when the time comes for the reconstruction of Yemen, no one will hesitate to do this job for the sake of the Yemeni people.

On the credibility of Huthi militias’ use of germ and chemical weapons, the coalition spokesman said that the use of this type of weapons by the militias has not been proved to the coalition’s command, but if used, it will be faced appropriately, arguing that the coalition forces do not rule out the militias’ seeking to get these weapons.

On the clashes that occur on the Yemeni-Saudi border, Brigadier Asiri said that the Huthi militias are trying to create a situation of insecurity on the border to undermine stability, explaining that the rugged nature of the Yemeni-Saudi border, and the closeness of villages between the two sides, could constitute a barrier to hitting the target when using artillery shells or mortar, which is being avoided by The ‘Determination Storm’ stressing that the Saudi border is safe and no one controls one centimeter of the border.

On the importance of finding a commander for the Popular Committees and tribes, Brigadier Asiri said that the unity of command is a prerequisite to military action, and the Yemeni government coordinates its work with the Popular Committees and with the tribal leaders, stressing that the command of the coalition provides them with information and logistical support creating a noticeable change on the ground.

On the fear of the coalition forces from a repeat of what happened in Libya after the Libyan government supported the Popular Committees and the forces of the tribes in Libya, Brigadier Asiri stressed that each case has its factors and nature, indicating that Operation Determination Storm has clear and necessary objectives and the coalition forces will work to achieve them.

About the possibility of opening the door to volunteers in the kingdom as it was done in Desert Storm, Brigadier Asiri confirmed that this issue concerns the Ministry of Defense, and that the troops deployed on the ground now are enough and correspond to the size of the existing threat hoping that the operations will end as soon as positive with positive results.

— SPA

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