Saudi Arabian–Yemeni border conflict (2015–present)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saudi–Yemeni Conflict
Part of the spillover of the Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Date2 April 2015[10] – present
(5 years and 1 week)
Coordinates: 17°29′30″N 44°07′56″E / 17.491667°N 44.132222°E / 17.491667; 44.132222
Status Ongoing
Houthis claim to control a strip of Saudi territory on the border, ranging from Ghawiyah (Jizan) in the west to Al-Shurafa (Najran) in the east.

 Saudi Arabia

 Qatar (until 2017)


(Supreme Political Council)

Allegedly supported by:
 Iran (weapons)[5]
 North Korea (military; per South Korea's intelligence)[6][7][8][9]
Commanders and leaders
Gen. Awad bin Eid Al-Balawi
(Director General of Saudi Border Guard)
Maj. Gen. Abdulrahman bin Saad al-Shahrani 
(Commander of 18th Brigade)[11]
Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi
Abu Bakr Abu Ahmed as-Salami
Brig. Gen. Hasan Abdullah Almalsi  (Commander of Houthi special forces)[12]
Abdullah Qayed al-Fadeea 
(Houthi frontline deputy general supervisor)[13]
Casualties and losses
500+ Saudi civilians killed[14][15]
Saudi Arabian–Yemeni border conflict (2015–present) is located in Yemen
Saudi Arabian–Yemeni border conflict (2015–present)
Location of Najran, in relation to Yemen.

A Saudi Arabian-Yemeni border conflict between Saudi Arabian troops and Yemeni Houthi insurgents has been taking place, in the southern regions of Asir, Jizan, and Najran, since the onset of the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen in 2015.

Over the course of the conflict the Houthis have carried out attacks on military bases and outposts in Saudi Arabia capturing and/or destroying military installations.[16][17]


In their 2004 conflict against the government of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Houthis accused Saudi Arabia of pressuring Saleh to crack down on their community, funding it with $25 billion USD. This accusation was denied by Saleh, and was not acknowledged by Saudi Arabia. The Houthis and pro-Houthi Yemen army units were deploying effective tactics. Usually, they would first deploy teams equipped with anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) - like Russian made 9M113 Konkurs, 9M113 Kornet-E and a few BGM-71 TOW - to take out specific vehicles or bunkers. BM-21s and BM-27s would then target nearest military bases and sew mines along routes leading in the direction of the border. Meanwhile, pro - Houthi special forces would start assaulting the border outposts, while motorcycle mounted teams armed with RPG-7s and US-made BGM-47 Dragons would infiltrate into the Saudi rear. Columns of RSLF intervention forces would thus drive into unknown minefields, or rush into ambushes at places not directly hit by the fighting. Some raiding parties deployed into Saudi Arabia were armed with man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), but deployment of M167 Vulcan towed-anti aircraft cannons was noted too. Although exact details the effectiveness of either remain evasive, it transpires that during the first year of this war they at least managed to damage numerous attack helicopters of the RSLF and the RSNG, and thus forced their crews to keep their distance.[18]



As a result of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, the city of Najran was shelled by the Houthis on 5 May 2015, Saudi authorities temporarily closed local educational institutions and the airport.[19]

Ahrar al-Najran troops attacked a military base in Najran on 9 July 2015, seizing a number of weapons and electronic equipment belonging to Saudi Arabia's security services, and destroying an armored vehicle and a mortar-launching vehicle, both belonging to the Saudi Army. 2 Ahrar al-Najran fighters and 15 Saudi soldiers were killed in the clashes.[20]


  • On 31 January 2016, Yemeni forces allied with the Houthis fired 70 missiles and mortar shells at the Al-Qawiya and Jbal al-Dokhan military bases in Jizan province, killing at least 10 Saudi troops.[21]
  • On 20 June 2016, Ahrar al-Najran reportedly seized a lookout outpost near the border.[22] Saudi interior sources later announced on 25 July 2016 that the clashes resulted in the deaths of 5 Saudi border guards.[23]
  • On 11 August 2016, after a one-year border ceasefire between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia expired, clashes resumed and the Houthis gained entrance into the west side of the city of Najran.[24]
  • On 16 August 2016, Saudi shelling killed 7 civilians, including 4 Saudis and 3 foreigners, in an industrial zone in Najran.[25]
  • On 18 August 2016, Houthi fighters advanced 15 km into Najran, according to a pro-Houthi source.[26]
  • On 21 August 2016, a Saudi encampment in Najran was hit by a Houthi-fired Tochka ballistic missile, resulting in the deaths of at least 50 Saudi soldiers.[27]
  • On 26 August 2016, a power station near the border was hit by a Houthi-fired rocket. A three-year-old boy was killed by subsequent debris, and his nine-year-old brother was injured.[28]
  • On 28 August 2016, Saudi officials stated that a rocket fired from Yemen hit a family's home in Saudi Arabia, killing two children and wounding five others.[29]
  • On 30 August 2016, Pro-Houthi media published a video purportedly showing clashes in the Asir region, with images of dead Saudi soldiers and claims of dozens of Saudi casualties.[30]
  • On 4 September 2016, Shelling from Yemen killed a woman and 3 children, and injured 2 others.[31]
  • On 6 September 2016, Houthi fighters captured 3 villages in the Al-Khabuah area, according to a source close to them inside the Jizan region.[32]
  • On 12 September 2016, the Saudi Defense Ministry acknowledged that 3 Saudi soldiers were killed and 2 were wounded by a Houthi mortar attack at a border position in Najran, while also claiming that there have been over 500 Houthi casualties since the start of the conflict in Najran.[33]
  • On 13 September 2016, Qatar confirmed that 3 of their soldiers had been killed the previous night by Houthi fighters in Najran.[34]
  • In mid-September, Houthi forces, backed by the Yemeni Republican Guard, reached the last village at Najran's southern perimeter. Houthi forces and their allies were reported to be attacking the village of Nahuqa, where they were engaged in a fierce battle with the Saudi Army and Hadi loyalists.[35]
  • On 24 September 2016, Major-General Hassan Almalsi, head of Houthi special forces, was killed while attempting to infiltrate into the Najran Region with a squad of Houthi fighters.[36]
  • On 4 October 2016, Houthi forces destroyed 3 Saudi Abrams M1A2 tanks in Najran.[37]
  • On 12 October 2016, Salafist fighters, including ultra-conservative Salafist leader Bassam al-Mehbar, took control of Al Buqa border crossing in Saada province, Yemen, with the help of Saudi air support.[38] It is the second time that Saudi-backed government forces have tried to open up a new front against Houthis in the north by crossing from Saudi Arabia.
  • On 13 October 2016, A Saudi spy drone was shot down by Houthi militias over Al-Qawiya military base in Jizan. On the same day, a Saudi military vehicle came under fire from Houthi forces, and a Saudi soldier was killed by Houthi snipers in the Al-Rabiah area of Jizan.[39]
  • On 30 October 2016, Houthi forces ambushed the Saudi Army convoy near Al-Biqa' Desert on the near the Yemeni-Saudi border after observing the latter's movements for several hours, killing scores of Saudi Army soldiers.[40]
  • On 1 November 2016, Houthi militias claimed to have shot down a drone flying over the Ailab area in Asir province with an anti-aircraft missile. This was the fourth time in 2 months that the Houthis had shot down a Saudi aircraft.[41]
  • On 8 November 2016, 5 Saudis were injured and 3 vehicles were damaged by a projectile fired from Yemen into the southwestern city of Jizan, according to the Saudi Civil Defense.[42]
  • On 10 November 2016, Houthis claimed to have taken control of the villages of Al-Kars and Al-Dafiniya, along with other villages in east of Al-Bahtit and south of Al-Qarn. Sources also said that Houthi militiamen had captured a bridge linking Jizan's Qaem Zubaid and Al-Ibadiya areas and the road to the nearby Al-Khubah area. The sources also said that scores of Saudi soldiers were killed and injured and six Saudi armored vehicles and 2 combat tanks destroyed. Saudi army helicopters had bombarded the Al-Khubah area in response. However, the claim cannot be independently verified by Saudi authorities. Also earlier on that day, Saudi authorities said at least 14 people had been injured in Dharan al-Janoub governorate, in the southwest near the Yemeni border, by projectiles fired from Yemen.[43]
  • On 15 November 2016, the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted and destroyed the missile targeting Najran "without any damage", Saudi Press Agency reported.[44]
  • On 19 November 2016, a Saudi soldier was killed by a missile fired by the Houthis across the border into Asir province, the Saudi interior ministry said.[45] The incident occurred hours before a 48 hours Saudi-imposed ceasefire began.
  • On 22 November 2016, 1 Yemeni citizen was killed and 7 other expatriates were injured when projectiles fired from Yemeni territories hit a shopping center in Najran, according to the official spokesman of the Civil Defense Directorate.[46]
  • On 26 November 2016, Houthi fighters said late on Saturday that they fired a ballistic missile deep into Saudi border city of Khamis Mushait in Asir region, targeting Allamuza military base. Houthis said the missile fire came in retaliatory response to the Saudi-led continuing airstrikes on Yemeni cities. However, the Saudi-owned Alarabiya satellite TV reported that the Saudi defense forces intercepted and destroyed the missile in the air before it reached the city.[47]
  • On 1 December 2016, 3 Saudi soldiers were shot dead by the Yemeni Army and Houthis at the al-Dhabra military base in Jizan, while another was killed in attack on a base in the al-Rabu'ah town of Asir.[48]
  • On 8 December 2016, The Rocket Battalion of Yemeni Army shelled Al-Hajir military Base in Asir, causing damage to the military installation. It also launched missile strikes on military installations inside Misyal and Thuwaylah, inflicting losses of lives and equipment on the Saudi military.[49][50]On the evening of 8 December, a Saudi border guard was killed when a landmine exploded along a border road in Jizan region.[51]
  • On 22 December 2016, Saudi forces carried out a night-time military operation in the regions of Jizan and Najran killing 30 Houthi fighters.[52]
  • On 31 December 2016, 25 Houthi fighters were killed by Saudi coalition airstrike in Najran region.[53]


  • In the afternoon of 14 January 2017, a Saudi corporal was killed at a border guards post in Najran region after came under attack as a result of shelling and intensive fire, the Saudi Interior Ministry said.[54]
  • On 18 January 2017, al-Masdar News reported that since the beginning of January 2017, over 16 Saudi soldiers were killed by sniper fire in the Jizan region.[55]
  • On the morning of 1 February 2017, one Saudi soldier was shot dead in Saudi border city of Jizan when Houthi militias fired from Yemeni territory, Saudi Press Agency reported.[56]
  • On 9 February 2017, Houthi militiamen launched an ambush at Saudi soldiers passing through the Jizan Region, killing scores and seizing their weaponry, the attack took place at Al-Hathira area.[57]
  • On 13 February 2017, at least 7 Saudi soldiers have been killed in the past week in clashes with Houthi fighters, state media reported.[58]
  • On 24 February 2017, a Jordanian F-16 warplane crashed in Najran district, reportedly due to a technical error. The pilot survived.[59]
  • On 19 March 2017, at least 20 Houthi fighters were reportedly killed in an attempt to sneak into army positions in Souq al-Buqaa area in northern Saada province, near Saudi border, according to the Saudi-backed Yemeni Army.[60]
  • On 23 March 2017, several Saudi soldiers were reportedly killed by cross-border Houthi missiles, the Houthi-run news agency said. Saudi soldiers were allegedly killed when rebel shelling hit military sites in Najran, Jizan and Asir provinces, a rebel official told Yemen's Saba news agency. However, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced the death of just one soldier on a border post in south Dhahran.[61]
  • On 10 April 2017, more fighting was reported at the southeastern region of Asir with Saudi Army vehicles being attacked and casualties.[62]
  • On 16 April 2017, one Saudi border guard was killed and 3 others injured in a mine explosion in Jizan province, the Saudi Interior Ministry said.[63]
  • On 25 April 2017, Saleh forces and Popular Committees sniped 3 Saudi soldiers.[64]
  • On 27 April 2017, Saudi Interior Ministry stated that 2 patrolling soldiers were killed in Al-Rdhaa Sector in Jizan Region as a result of land mine explosion and projectiles from neighbouring Yemen.[65]
  • In the first quarter of the year 2017 Houthi Yemeni snipers reportedly killed 119 Saudi soldiers.[66]
  • On 11 May 2017, Houthis captured a Saudi military base in Raboah, Asir province, killing and wounding several Saudi soldiers.[67]
  • On 28 May 2017, 3 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Army personnel were ambushed by Houthis fighters, including a high-ranking officer at Asir.[68]
  • On 10 July 2017, Houthi fighters blow up a KSA military building after seizing vehicles and supplies.[69]
  • On 19 July 2017, more attacks on Saudi-backed personnel were reported including an IED that killed 3 soldiers.[70] The Houthi media displayed footage of Saudi Soldiers being shot by snipers at Al-Talaa Base in the Jizan region.[71]
  • On 22 July 2017, the Houthi forces launched a Volcano H-2 missile on Saudi Arabia targeting the oil refineries in the Yanbu Province of Saudi Arabia. Houthis and Ali Saleh media have claimed that the missile hit its target causing a major fire, while Saudi Arabia has claimed that it was due to the extreme heat that caused one of the generators to blow up.[72]
  • On 27 July 2017, the Houthis forces launched approximately 4 Volcano 1 missiles at King Fahad Air Base; the Houthis said that the missiles had successfully hit their targets.[73]
  • On 5 November 2017, the Houthi Forces successfully launched a Volcano H-2 on Saudi Arabia targeting the capital Riyadh which garnered worldwide media attention. According to a Houthi spokesperson the missile hit its target, King Khalid International Airport, while Saudi Arabia claimed that it had downed the ballistic missile before it hit the airport.[74]
  • On 9 December 2017, the Houthi forces repelled a Saudi-led offensive on their defenses in the towns of Qiwah and Hamda in the Jizan Region. Several Saudi and Sudanese soldiers were killed.[75]


  • On 11 and 12 January 2018, The Houthis fired ballistic missiles at Najran. These attacks were confirmed by Saudi sources, which also reported that both missiles had been shot down.[76][77]
  • On 30 January 2018, Pro-Houthi sources reported an additional missile attack, aimed at Riyadh.[78]
  • On 11 February and 14 February 2018, Houthi fighters that had infiltrated into Saudi Arabia engaged in combat with the Saudi Armed Forces, near the city of Najran. The Houthis were repelled, with the Saudi forces claiming to have killed more than 20 of them, and destroyed 3 vehicles with their Apache helicopters.[79]
  • On 20 February 2018, Houthi snipers shot and killed at least 5 Saudi soldiers in the kingdom's Jizan, Najran and Asir regions.[80]
  • On 22 February 2018, 3 Saudi-led coalition vehicles were targeted and destroyed along 50 enemy militants of the 103rd and 151 Brigade.[81]
  • On 9 March 2018, Pro-Houthi Yemeni army launched an attack on a military site in Jizan.[82] This was the day after the Saudi-led coalition fighting Pro Houthi Yemeni army conducted airstrikes across Yemen that left 9 Yemeni civilians (including women and children) dead.[83]
  • On 11 March 2018, Houthis launched a major attack on the Saudi army in Jizan, the attack began with artillery shelling that directly hit the ranks of the Saudi army. Meanwhile, Houthis targeted al-Marani camp and Saudi army positions in the village of al-Lahj. Engineering unit of the Houthis carried out an ambush and destroyed some Saudi-led force vehicles. The Saudi media acknowledged the deaths of 18 soldiers and injury of 5 others.[84]
  • On 26 March 2018, Houthis fired 7 ballistic missiles towards the Saudi capital of Riyadh, all of which were intercepted by Saudi systems. 1 person was killed and 2 injured as a result.[85][86]
  • Pro-Houthis al-Masirah TV quoted Saudi sources as saying that 33 Saudi soldiers were killed and 12 others injured in Houthis retaliatory attacks in the first 10 days of April.[87]


  • On May 14, 2019, the Houthis carried out a drone attack that targeted the Saudi East–West Crude Oil Pipeline. The attack temporarily shut down the pipeline before it was reopened.
  • On June 21, 2019, Houthi forces attacked Saudi Army column, destroying four armored vehicles, including a US-made Oshkosh M-ATV.[88]
  • On July 10, 2019, Houthi forces claim a ballistic missile attack on a troop gathering near the area South of Saudi Arabia's Najran Province killing 45 Saudi-led forces.[88]
  • On July 18, 2019, Houthi forces attacked Saudi Army force in the Asir Province destroying 4 military vehicles that were left behind, including 3 Oshkosh M-ATV.[89]
  • On August 17, 2019 Houthis attacked a Saudi Arabian oil and gas fields in the remote town of Shaybah.[90]
  • On August 26, 2019, Houthi rebels fired a total of 10 Badr-1 ballistic missiles at the Jizan airport in southwest Saudi Arabia. The retaliatory attack led to dozens of killings and injuries. Riyadh claimed that it had intercepted six out of 10 missiles fired from Yemen.[91] The same day Houthi forces informed of the ambush of a group of Saudi led forces in Jabara Valley as part of Operation Victory from God.
  • On September 14, the Houthi rebels claimed the Abqaiq and Khurais drone attacks, which caused massive damage to Saudi oil facilities.[92]
  • On September 28, 2019, the Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree, announced that three Saudi-led brigades alongside KSA forces[93] were sieged and defeated following a 72 hours battle south of Najran. Thousands of enemy forces were reported casualties[94] with over 500 Saudi led forces killed and 2,500 captured.[95] and 15 vehicles burned out. According to the Houthi spokesman, the Saudi brigades were preparing for a major attack against the Houthis in retaliation to the attack on Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities, however the Houthis were able to lure the Saudi troops into their trap. According to the Houthi military spokesman, the Saudis then conducted airstrikes targeting the Saudi captives but the spokesman assured the families of the captives that they were able to hide and protect them from the Saudi airstrikes.[96] The following day Houthis showed video footage and pictures of alleged Saudi military vehicles lost after the battle.[97] Catherine Shakdam from Next Century Foundation said that there is no reason to doubt the Houthi statement asserting that the videos and the images which the Houthis have shown, confirm the Houthi statement.[98] According to The Guardian and the BBC, the claims at the Houthi press conference, could not be corroborated.[99][100][101] Saudi Arabia has not confirmed nor denied the attack.[102]
  • On November 4, 2019, Houthis forces attack left 5 Saudi troops killed including two officers with both the rank of majors.[103]


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