SANA’A – Over 2,000 Yemen-born soldiers and mercenaries who fought in employment of the Saudi and Emirati invaders, have defected from their post and joined the side of the National Salvation Government in Sana’a. This was confirmed by spokesman of the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e.
Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported a massive influx of thousands of Yemeni former mercenaries towards the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. According to the media outlet, the sight of former Saudi-backed militants surrendering and defecting to the Yemeni Armed Forces and the Popular Committees has become a common sight in the north of Yemen.
Al-Akhbar’s report states that the morale of Yemeni militants in Saudi employment has shattered, following the massive recent advance by the Yemeni forces in Najran and Jawf, in which over 37 military camps of the invaders were captured.
The rate of defections has reportedly risen so sharply that the Yemeni Ministry of Defence had to assign a specialised committee tasked with welcoming and coordinating the welcoming and rehabilitation of former Saudi-backed militants.
The National Salvation Government maintains a policy of amnesty, granted to all militants and mercenaries who leave the service of the invaders and make their way to the liberated areas of Yemen in order to offer their services. The amnesty offer has been taken by at least 2,000 militants in the past couple of weeks alone, according to Sare’e.
Aside from many soldiers, several dozens of commanders and officers of the Saudi and Emirati-backed forces have also taken the amnesty and defected to the National Salvation Government. The forces of Tariq Saleh, nephew of former Saudi-backed president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh, have suffered especially from a high rate of defections. On Thursday, Major Qassem Ahmad al-Khezri, Commander of the Logistical Forces of the so-called “4th Republican Guard Brigade of Yemen”, defected from Saleh’s unit and accepted amnesty.
Interviews conducted with defectors indicate a large level of dissatisfaction at their treatment by Saudi and Emirati military leaders, including allegations that Yemeni mercenaries are being used as human shields and cannon fodder at the frontlines.
On Friday, Major al-Khezri himself stated that the “UAE-backed forces are now divided, as they have found themselves just abiding by orders from Abu Dhabi that go directly against the national interests of our country,” referring to the UAE-backed separatist groups that seek to split off southern Yemen from the Republic.