Saturday, October 31, 2020

Yemen Control Map & Report - October 2020

(To see other maps in this series, view all Yemen articles on PolGeoNow.)

Map of what's happening in Yemen as of October 2020, including territorial control for the unrecognized Houthi government, president-in-exile Hadi and his allies in the Saudi-led coalition, the UAE-backed southern separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Includes recent locations of fighting and other events, including Al Amud, Al Khanjar base, Durayhimi, and more.
Map by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic, from base map by Koen Adams of onestopmap.com.
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Timeline by Djordje Djukic

Houthi Control Expanding

In the two months since PolGeoNow's previous Yemen control map report, Houthi fighters have continued their gradual advance against forces loyal to the Saudi-backed, internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Most of the changes have taken place in Marib province, east of the capital, where the Houthis have expanded their control of the province's western and southern reaches. Meanwhile, southern separatists and Al Qaeda fighters continue to govern other parts of the country relatively undisturbed.


Flag of Yemen Country Name:  
• Yemen (English)
• Al-Yaman (Arabic)
Official Name:  
• Republic of Yemen (English)
al-JumhĊĞriyyah al-Yamaniyyah (Arabic) 
Capital:  
Sana'a (constitutional)
Aden (official temporary capital of internationally-recognized government)
Ataq (actual current seat of internationally-recognized government)

Chronology of Events

The following is a timeline of major events and changes to territorial control since PolGeoNow's previous Yemen control map report of August 25, 2020.

August 27, 2020
The separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) sent military reinforcements to Abyan province,following the group's withdrawal from negotiations with the Hadi government in Saudi Arabia.

August 30 - September 1, 2020
The Houthis captured three areas west of Marib, also seizing three towns and two mountains in the southern part of the province. The next day, pro-Hadi forces temporarily recaptured the areas they had lost in southern Marib before they were once again captured by the Houthis, who then proceeded to take control of three more areas, including the town of Al Amud, a district center. 

Meanwhile, the Houthis captured three more towns and a mountain along the road west of Marib city, after which they attacked pro-Hadi positions north of the Sana’a-Marib highway, taking control of a valley there. They also advanced towards a mountain northwest of Marib city.

September 1, 2020
The king of Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree dismissing the overall commander of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, from his position. The prince’s son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd, was also relieved as deputy governor of Saudi Arabia's Al Jawf province (no relation to the province of the same name in Yemen). The two, along with four other military officers, were referred to an anti-graft watchdog for investigation.

September 3-4, 2020
The Houthis expanded their control around Al Amud, capturing two towns and a mountain. They also continued to advance north of the Sana’a-Marib highway, seizing five towns between Jufra Base and Marib city. The next day, the Houthis took full control of the district surrounding Al Amud upon reaching an agreement with local forces, after which they made a major advance into the next district to the north. Overall, the Houthis captured more than 500 square kilometers of territory in the south of Marib.

September 5-11, 2020
Houthi advances in the south of Marib continued with the capture of four more mountains and three towns. Meanwhile, pro-Hadi forces recaptured several positions south of the Sana’a-Marib highway, as well as two areas in the desert of Jawf province, where 18 Houthis and 10 pro-Hadi fighters were killed. Still, the Houthis captured between three and ten more villages north of the highway

Between September 9 and 11, pro-Hadi troops captured several positions in the south of Jawf province before they were quickly recaptured by the Houthis. Around the same time, the Houthis seized another mountain and a town in the south of Marib. At this time, four Marib tribes signed a non-aggression agreement with the Houthis to spare their areas from fighting.

September 9, 2020
The Houthis suspended all United Nations and humanitarian flights to the capital Sana’a, while the Saudi-led coalition continued to block commercial ships from the port of Hodeida.

September 13, 2020
The Houthis advanced in two directions along the Sana’a-Marib highway, while also capturing seven areas in the southern part of Marib province.

September 15-17, 2020
The Houthis continued to advance in the southern countryside of Marib along three axes, capturing more than 35 areas.

September 18-22, 2020
Pro-Hadi forces recaptured six areas in southern Marib. Still, the Houthis managed to capture another area and two heights further along the frontline. Between September 21 and 22, the Houthis seized yet another area and three mountains, and recaptured two areas they had lost a few days earlier. 

Meanwhile, in another contested area, local pro-Hadi tribal fighters were reportedly bombed by mistake by the Saudi-led coalition. This led to their withdrawal from the frontline, weakening pro-Hadi forces in the area. Heavy Saudi-led airstrikes against the Houthis had been conducted constantly since the start of the Houthi advances earlier in the month.

September 29-October 1, 2020
On September 29, the Houthis restarted their assault in the district northeast of Al Amud, capturing four or five areas. Over the next two days, they seized six more areas of of the district, including three subdistricts.

September 30-October 7, 2020
Fighting erupted at Durayhimi, south of Hodeida along the Red Sea coast, as pro-Hadi forces attacked the Houthi-held town. The assault was eventually repelled after the pro-Hadi troops initially managed to capture a nearby village and enter the town. Subsequently, the Houthis launched an assault to break the two-year siege of Durayhimi, managing to seize a village to the east, as well as several surrounding hamlets, and reaching the town’s eastern entrance. Still, fighting was continuing in the area as of October 7.

October 6-8, 2020
Pro-Hadi forces captured eight mountaintops in Jawf province that they had lost in August to the Houthis, as well as the strategic Al Khanjar military base. The Houthis withdrew to the highlands overlooking Al Khanjar and shelled the base. A subsequent Houthi counterattack recaptured three of the mountaintops. Around the same time, pro-Hadi troops reportedly also recaptured some areas in the south of Marib province.    

October 10, 2020
The Houthis recaptured Al Khanjar military base, as pro-Hadi forces withdrew to avoid being surrounded. During the fighting, the commander of the pro-Hadi 110th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier General Abdul Aziz Hankal, was killed.

October 13, 2020
Fighting continued in the desert east of Al Khanjar base and in southern Jawf.

October 14, 2020
The Houthis released two US hostages in return for 200 detained Houthis to be allowed to return to Yemen from Oman. The 200 Houthis had either been stranded in Oman or were casualties sent to Oman for treatment as part of UN-brokered peace talks in 2018, but never allowed to return to their home country.

October 16, 2020
The Houthis and the Hadi government conducted the biggest exchange of prisoners since the start of the conflict. Some 680 Houthi fighters and 400 pro-Hadi fighters were released. The exchange also included 15 Saudis and 4 Sudanese soldiers.

October 19, 2020
A Saudi-led coalition attack on the road between Damt and Qatabah was reportedly repelled.

October 23-25, 2020
The Houthis advanced on a base west of Marib city and captured two areas.


Following this conflict? Check for updates to our map by viewing all Yemen reports on PolGeoNow!


Graphic of Yemeni flag is in the public domain (source).