The United Arab Emirates has announced that its troops are withdrawing from the war in Yemen.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, posted the official announcement on his Twitter account.He quoted the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, who in an earlier speech announced the “war is over for our troops.”
The UAE joined Saudi Arabia in a coalition over a year ago in an intense military operation in Yemen aimed at pushing back Iran-backed Houthi rebels who had forced the Saudi-supported government into exile.
Aircraft from the United Arab Emirates had launched a large amount of air strikes on several targets across Yemen. The strikes came a day after 45 Emirati soldiers died in Yemen in a missile strike claimed by Houthi rebels.
The Saudi-led coalition is trying to restore the exiled president, who left as the Houthis gained control over much of the country. The intervention cost the lives of UAE air crews as well as ground troops.
In March, a Mirage jet crashed in Yemen killing both its crew. And this week alone, two UAE helicopters crashed with the loss of their four crew.
More than 6,400 Yemenis have been killed since the intervention started, the majority of them civilians.
The US has provided military support, intelligence, ships and special operations forces to help the ongoing operations against al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
American special operations forces have also been advising the Yemeni, Emirati and Arab coalition forces in the region.
The UAE, which has one of the best-equipped militaries in the region, suffered numerous losses over the past year of fighting in Yemen, including four pilots killed in two separate helicopter crashes this week.