French Elite Forces, Saudi-led Coalition Cooperate to Fight Houthi in Yemen

Published June 17th, 2018 - 01:15 GMT
Houthi fighters chant slogans as they ride through Yemen's capital Sanaa. (AFP/file photo)
Houthi fighters chant slogans as they ride through Yemen's capital Sanaa. (AFP/file photo)
French elite soldiers are reportedly on the ground in Yemen, according to a report by Le Figaro newspaper on Saturday with a member of parliament backing the claims.

The report follows signs of closer cooperation between Paris and a Saudi-led military coalition that is fighting Houthi rebels in the war-torn country.

French special forces are reported to be working with the UAE military in Yemen, although no further details were given about their role in the conflict or location.

A French MP also told Reuters that French troops were in Yemen, although UAE troops are assisting Yemeni fighters in their battle against al-Qaeda in the south of the country.

UAE forces are mostly situated in coastal areas of Yemen, with a particularly strong presence in the port city of Aden and the island of Socotra. 

The UAE is also thought to have close relations with southern separatist militias.

Abu Dhabi has been accused of using the war to carve out key territorial territories, particularly coastal regions in Yemen and East Africa.

This would provide the UAE with control of the strategic waterways around the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.
 


UAE military forces are also leading an offensive on Yemen's key port of Hodeida, which is held by Houthi rebels with the capital Sanaa also under their control.

The assault on the port has been widely criticised by the UN and other countries, with aid agencies warning the assault could lead to catastrophic consequences for the country.

Hodeida is the entry point for around two-thirds of Yemen's aid and fighting in the area could lead to imports of humanitarian supplies being halted, despite Saudi-led coalition assurances that this won't happen.

A drawn-out offensive would ultimately make the import of aid more difficult and could lead to famine likely affecting the millions of Yemenis who rely on humanitarian assistance to survive.

France said on Saturday it was considering minesweeping operations in the waters around in Hodedia, once the campaign in the port ends.

The US reportedly turned down a request from the UAE to provide a minesweeper and intelligence information to the pro-Yemen government coalition.

The Saudi-led coalition said on Saturday its forces had captured Hodeida's airport, although was denied by the Houthis.

Yemen's war began in September 2014, when Houthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa forcing the government to flee south. A Saudi-led 

Arab coalition began airstrikes in March 2015, and sending in troops to back President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi's forces.

The Saudi-led air campaign and UAE-backed ground offensives have greatly escalated the war, with more than 10,000 people killed - the vast majority civilians.
 
France is a key arms supplier to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
 
This article has been adapted from its original source.
 

Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

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