The Yemeni civil war is a multidimensional conflict where local and national power struggles were aggravated by a regional proxy conflict. In March 2015, the Houthi Movement and military units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who seized control of the capital Sana’a in September 2014, dismissed the internationally recognised government led by Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, arrested several ministers and forced the President to flee. As the Houthi-Saleh forces were closing in on the southern port city of Aden, where President Hadi had sought refuge, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of nine countries providing ground, air and naval support to restore Hadi’s government in Sana’a and prevent the Houthi-Saleh forces from overtaking Aden. Backed by the United States and the United Kingdom, the coalition included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar. Simultaneously, several militia groups known as the Popular Resistance mobilised across southern Yemen to oppose the Houthis’ takeover of the country. Since the Houthi-Saleh forces were repulsed from Aden, ground fighting has largely clustered along a frontline that stretches from the northern and central highlands of Marib and Al Jawf to the coast of Hodeidah, through the flashpoint city of Taiz. Saudi-led airstrikes have hit thousands of positions across Houthi-controlled territories, inflicting heavy losses to military forces and the civilian population, as well as severe damage to the country’s infrastructure. Despite sporadic peaks in fighting coinciding with large-scale military campaigns, such as Operation Golden Spear in January 2017, the levels of violence have remained sustained throughout the war, with high civilian and military fatalities. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Yemeni branch of the Islamic State (IS) exploited the ongoing unrest to expand their presence across central and southern Yemen. After seizing large swathes of territory in the provinces of Abyan, Shabwah and Hadramawt, AQAP took control of the port of Mukalla in 2015, from which they were ousted in 2016 following an Emirati-backed offensive. AQAP and IS have claimed several attacks against the Houthi-Saleh forces, and are believed to cooperate with Hadi-aligned Salafist militias in the south. In 2017, the two warring coalitions began to fracture. The secessionist Southern Movement, backed by local militias and the UAE, set up a Southern Transitional Council (STC) to seek independence from northern Yemen, rejecting the authority of President Hadi. The UAE is reportedly providing military and financial support to armed groups and military units loyal to the STC. In late 2017, increasing political divisions between Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) and the Houthi Movement resulted in heavy battles between the Republican Guard loyal to the former president and the Houthi militias, which eventually led to the killing of Saleh in December.
Time Period: 2014-01-01 (ongoing)
Number of Events: 48,994
Reported Fatalities: 110,907
Reported Civilian Deaths from Direct Targeting: 12,526
Number of Armed Active Agents: 268