Battle of Sa'dah

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Battle of Sa'dah
Part of the Houthi insurgency in Yemen and Yemeni Revolution
Date 19–26 March 2011
(1 week)
Location Sa'dah city, Yemen
Result Houthi rebels victory
Houthis take control of Sa'dah governorate

Yemen Yemeni government


  • Army defectors
  • Anti-government protesters
Commanders and leaders
Yemen Taha Hajer
Yemen Uthman Mujalli

Fares Mana'a

Abu Ali Abdullah al-Hakem al-Houthi
Casualties and losses
45 killed[1]
Battle of Sa'dah is located in Yemen
Battle of Sa'dah
Location within Yemen

The Battle of Sa'dah was a battle fought in March 2011 between Houthi insurgents and forces loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the northern town of Sa'dah.

In February 2011, after the success of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and Tunisian Revolution, the Arab Spring spread to many countries including Yemen. Houthis declared their support for the 2011 Yemeni uprising against Saleh and large crowds of Houthi followers joined the protests on their 10th day.[2] During February and March, thousands of protesters held weekly marches in Sa'dah city from the gates of the old city to the security barracks of Saleh's army.[3]

Houthi fighters stormed the town on 19 March, allegedly blowing up houses and inflicting heavy civilian casualties.[4] This led to a heavy conflict with the Al Abdin tribes, led by pro-government Sheikh Uthman Mujalli, in which 45 people were killed and 13 houses were destroyed. Houthis then attacked the Telmus military site, overlooking the city and captured numerous machine guns, mortar shells, guns and tanks. Houthis prevailed in the fighting and burned down Sheikh Mujalli's house, destroying all his possessions and seizing sixteen cars.[1] Sa'dah governor Taha Hajer then fled the province to Sana'a[5] and police deserted their posts,[6] after which all the leaders of the Sa'dah army headquarters handed over their military equipment and bases to the Houthi group.[5] By 27 March they were said to be fully in control of the town,[1] running all the government facilities and control checkpoints[6] and controlling all entrances to the city.[1]

On 26 March,[5] Houthi field commander Abu Ali appointed Fares Mana'a, one of the Middle East's most prominent arms dealers and former ally to Saleh, as governor of Sa'dah. Mana'a broke with Saleh after he had been imprisoned by him for months in Sana'a and he resigned from the ruling GPC party to join forces with the Houthis along with several other prominent Sa'dah politicians.[1] Houthis later declared a separate administration fully independent from the government of Yemen,[5] consisting of rebels, residents and defected military commanders.[7]

The Houthi takeover of Sa'dah resulted in over one and half year of relative peace and stability in the governorate.[8][9]

See also[edit]

Sa'dah City