Houthi rebels video fails to prove Saudi troop capture claim

Media caption,
Unverified Houthi footage broadcast

Houthi rebels in Yemen have released footage which they say shows a major attack on Saudi forces near the border between the two countries.

On Saturday, a Houthi spokesman said three Saudi brigades had surrendered near the Saudi town of Najran.

Saudi officials have not commented on the alleged assault.

The video shows an attack on armoured vehicles, but there is so far no verification of the Houthi claim of a major military success.

Colonel Yahiya Sarea alleged on Saturday that Saudi forces had suffered "huge losses in life and machinery", including "thousands" of its troops.

All those captured would be paraded on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV network, he said.

But the video broadcast on Sunday instead shows what appear to be rebels firing at vehicles on a road.

This is followed by footage of several burnt-out vehicles, as well as assorted light weaponry laid out on the ground and a group of men not in military uniforms marching down a dirt road.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Houthi rebels control much of northern Yemen

In a news conference on Sunday, Col Sarea did not give a date for when the video was taken.

He said the evidence of the attack could not be shown for security reasons.

The Iran-aligned Houthis say they launched a drone and missile attack on Saudi oil facilities on 14 September which affected global markets.

What's the background?

Yemen has been at war since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and his cabinet were forced to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis - which hold much of the north of the country.

Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries in air strikes against the rebels.

The coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

The civil war has triggered the world's worst humanitarian disaster, with 80% of the population - more than 24 million people - requiring humanitarian assistance or protection, including 10 million who rely on food aid to survive.

More than 70,000 people are believed to have died since 2016 as a result of the conflict, according to UN estimates.