Gulf nations have deployed thousands of ground troops that are entering Yemen in these hours to join a new push on Houthi rebel positions in the capital Sanaa in support of loyalist forces of President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, reports the regional media.
According to Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV, at least a thousand Qatari soldiers have crossed the Saudi-Yemeni border at al Wadia, with around 200 armoured vehicles.
This marks the first deployment of ground troops in Yemen by the Doha government, whose airforce has for months taken part in Saudi-led Arab coalition airstrikes against the Houthis, in turn backed by Teheran.
According to the Pan-Arab AL Sharq al Awsat newspaper, the Saudi government has deployed special forces in Marib, backed by armoured vehicles and tanks, confirmed also by the Emirates Wam news agency.
The deployment of ground troops, which brings the coalition force to around 10,000 men, comes a few days after a missile attack attributed to the Houthi rebels that left 60 dead among the United Arab Emirates, Saudi and Bahrain troops.
The Al Hayat newspaper reports that the deployment is a final push ahead of a decisive offensive to take Yemen’s capital Sanaa back from the rebels. The conflict in Yemen, the poorest of the Peninsula, has so far left 4,400 dead and displaced 1.3 million.