Houthi militias are gathering fresh batches of recruits from different districts to deploy them to battlefronts in the oil-rich Marib governorate, reported local sources based in southern Yemeni governorate of Ibb.
At least 85 minors are among the fighters Houthis deployed over the last 14 days, sources revealed, adding that the Iran-backed group had collected the child soldiers from villages and forced them to train for a week before being used as cannon fodder in Marib.
Despite some of the children being kidnapped and forcibly drafted into Houthi ranks, a number of minors were traded off to the Iran-backed group by some of Yemen’s poorest families in exchange for monthly financial and food support.
It is worth noting that Houthi recruitment campaigns are ongoing, intensifying and have spread to multiple districts across the war-torn country. Houthis have been trying to replenish their ranks after having sustained heavy losses in fighters and armaments on different battlefronts.
Local sources reported Houthis losing hundreds of combatants in the last few weeks.
As part of their aggressive drafting campaign, Houthis have issued an order forcing all public workers in Ibb to enlist as prospect fighters to receive training and eventually be assigned to a post in the battlefield.
According to a circular published by Houthi leader Mohammed Abdullah al-Shabibi, all civil servants must prepare to spend a minimum of 14 days on battlegrounds.
“This is the fifth time in under two months that Houthis have called for recruitment,” Ibb-based sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Local reports spoke of dozens of military vehicles loaded with hundreds of fighters leaving the southern governorate.
Houthis have found themselves embroiled in a costly military quagmire in Marib as their month-long offensive has stalled and they have not been able to recapture the governorate’s capital.
The military deadlock has prompted the Iran-backed militia into shifting their goal from taking Marib city to potentially using the offensive as a bargaining chip in future peace talks.