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Coalition Source: 2,800 Saudi Troops in Yemen

August 3, 2015 (Photo Credit: AFP)

DUBAI — An Arab coalition source confirmed to Defense News that 2,800 troops landed in Yemen on Aug. 2 and are targeting the country's largest military base.

The coalition source stated that the forces — comprised mostly of Saudi special operations, intelligence and logistics personnel — are placed to secure Aden and take over Al-Anad military base north of Aden.

"The units are also supported by personnel and equipment from the United Arab Emirates and trained Yemeni fighters," the source said.

Images of LeClerc main battle tanks, which are operated by the UAE land forces and Presidential Guard strike force, BMP armored vehicles, and M-ATVs being offloaded at a port in the southern city of Aden appeared on social media Sunday.

The equipment provided by the UAE, the source stated, was delivered from a forward operating base located off the coast of the Red Sea.

"The equipment and personnel were prepared at our staging base in the Red Sea for the landing," he added.

Gulf-based geopolitical and military analyst Theodore Karasik said the throughput of Saudi-led coalition equipment from sea to land signals more ground offensives ahead to expand the coalition's gains in and around Aden.

"The equipment is an impressive mix of land force vehicles and support that is meant to give the pro-Hadi forces [loyal to Yemen's exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi] a sharp edge," he said.

A key question, however, is how the opposition will counterattack what is seen as a conventional force, Karsik said.

"We have seen before conventional forces being forced into retreat, but the Saudi-led forces are using a mix of hybrid warfare combined with tribal support to achieve superiority in key areas," he said. "Importantly, the successes in southwestern Yemen shows how the Saudi-led forces may be the embryonic steps of a joint Arab force."


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