Yemen Shi’ite Houthi rebels are fighting alongside regime forces in Syria, the
London-based Asharq Al- Awsat reported on Thursday.
Hundreds of Houthi
rebels are fighting in Syria and they view the fighting there as a “holy jihad,”
a Yemeni official told the paper. They first travel to Hezbollah camps in
Lebanon and then cross the border into Syria, he said.
“The arrival of
Houthi fighters in Syria coincided with the announcement of Hezbollah’s
involvement in the fighting alongside the Syrian regime,” the official
The Houthis have a relationship with the Assad regime extending
back before the Syrian civil war, as they would use the country as “a
way-station through which they traveled to Tehran and south Lebanon for combat
training,” the official said. They “would use Iranian documents to travel from
Damascus so that Yemeni authorities would not know where they had been when they
The source added that Iran was using two Eritrean islands
in the Red Sea for training purposes and to store weapons for the Houthi
Last week, 200 Houthi fighters left Yemen to fight in Syria,
according to the report.
Houthis are Shi’ites from the Zaydi branch, also
known as Fivers, who believe in the first five imams after Muhammad, up until
the fifth, Zayd ibn Ali. Most Shi’ites are Twelvers, including the leadership of
The Houthis have been fighting a rebellion from their base in
northern Yemen since 2004, with a number of cease-fires and mediation
Yemen’s government blames Iran for arming and supporting the