Ansarallah fighters in Aden, Yemen. (Photo credit: HispanTV)
On 11 November, local sources in the Yemeni city of Hodeidah reported that the Saudi-led coalition has begun withdrawing its troops from the city, allegedly under the auspices of a new UN-sponsored deal.
Reports indicate that coalition leaders ordered the exit of at least three UAE military brigades and allied mercenaries from the port city. Earlier in the day, videos circulating on social media showed presumed members of the Saudi-backed Giants Brigades in Hodeidah saying they had received orders to withdraw from their positions.
جنود من الوية العمالقة في مدينة الحديدة يقولون وصلتنا اوامر اليوم ننسحب وآسفاه على ارواح الشهداء الذين سقطوا
— انيس منصور – Anes Mansoor (@anesmansory) November 11, 2021
The news comes just one day after the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, met with Ansarallah commander Tariq Saleh in the city of Mocha.
According to Arabic media, late on Thursday the Saudi-coalition troops retreated about 3km from the Thabet Brothers Complex, allowing Ansarallah troops to take control of the city. In response, crowds of citizens rallied in the streets in celebration of the withdrawal.
اليمن : لحج : ردفان : الحبيلين : ابناء ردفان يجبرون اطقم تنظيم الانتقالي الارهاربي الاماراتي على الهرب بعد ان حاول منعهم من الهتاف "لا تحالف بعد اليوم"
هو الله pic.twitter.com/dpJNQfzRIg
— يمني جنوبي #انصار_الله (@11kyemeni) November 10, 2021
However, while Saudi-led coalition leaders maintain that this is not a withdrawal but “a repositioning of the forces,” they have also made it known that this is the result of an agreement with international partners on the need for “removing tension and building confidence.”
The agreement also calls for the removal of land mines and the reopening of the road at Kilo 16, which links the cities of Sanaa and Hodeidah together.
This marks the second time in less than a week that the Saudi-led coalition has withdrawn troops from strategic cities, as on 9 November a large contingent of their forces were withdrawn from the southern city of Aden via sea and air.