ADEN, Yemen – Yemeni pro-government forces reclaimed Tuesday, August 4, the country’s biggest airbase from Iran-backed rebels, a second major success after capturing the port of Aden last month.
Here are key dates since a coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened after Huthi Shiite rebels overran the Yemeni capital Sanaa and advanced on Aden, the second biggest city.
UN figures put the overall number of dead at almost 4,000, and the number of displaced people at more than one million.
- Riyadh-led coalition launches Yemen offensive. On March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia launches Operation Decisive Storm with air strikes on Huthi rebels after forging a coalition of nine countries to defend embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
- UN sanctions rebels. The UN Security Council on April 14 imposes an arms embargo on Yemeni rebels and demands they relinquish seized territory.
- False end to air strikes. Riyadh says it has suspended the military campaign on April 21, but resumes air strikes a day later in Yemen’s third city Taez, where rebels seize an army headquarters.
- Saudi Arabia hit. Huthis bombard the Saudi border town of Najran, killing several people on May 5 in their first such attack since the coalition operations began. The alliance warns they have crossed a “red line” and will pay a high price, then launches intense strikes. Around 50 people, mostly soldiers, have died in the border region since March 26.
- Al-Qaeda leader hit by US drone. On June 16, Al-Qaeda confirms that its leader in Yemen, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, has been killed by a US drone strike, and names military chief Qassem al-Rimi as the regional affiliate’s new leader.
- A day later, more than 30 people die in the capital Sanaa as five coordinated blasts claimed by the Islamic State group target Shiite mosques and offices. On March 20, IS had carried out its first attacks against Shiite mosques, killing 142 people.
- Humanitarian Emergency declared. The United Nations on July 1 declares Yemen a level-3 humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale, to step up urgently-needed international aid which a week later stands only at 13 percent of the $1.6 billion sought.
- The battle of Aden. Pro-government forces recapture the presidential palace in Aden on July 22 after days of fighting for the city, while the local airport re-opens more than a week after it was taken back from the rebels. With the airport and port back in loyalist hands, the coalition is able to ship in growing amounts of humanitarian and military supplies.
- A new ceasefire breaks down. The third ceasefire since the offensive began breaks down on July 28 after five days, with coalition jets striking rebel positions north of Aden.
- Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah flies on August 1 to Aden from exile in Saudi, the highest-ranking leader to return so far.
- Al-Anad airbase is taken by loyalists. On August 4, loyalist forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition retake the Al-Anad airbase in a 24-hour assault using heavy armour after hundreds of Gulf Arab troops land in Aden to back up the offensive.