Ansar al Sharia, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s insurgent wing, seized control of Jaar in late March 2011 and Zinjibar in late May 2011

March 22, 2012

Map: Forces Operating in South Yemen

Ansar al Sharia, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s insurgent wing, seized control of Jaar in late March 2011 and Zinjibar in late May 2011. Militants held the 25th mechanized brigade, stationed in Zinjibar, under siege for months. The Yemeni military responded only when Ansar al Sharia began to directly threaten Aden. It has increased its troop deployment in the area; the bulk of the forces operate in the towns of Dofes and al Kod, which both fall along the road to Aden.

There are currently at least seven army brigades deployed in Aden and Abyan: two armored brigades, two mechanized brigades, and three infantry brigades. The 119th infantry brigade, the 115th infantry brigade, and the 39th armored brigade were moved into the area during the past year.[1] The 39th armored brigade, which is based out of Aden, also deployed at least two artillery battalions to guard the Dofes bases.[2] The 31st armored brigade, stationed in Aden as late as 2009, established a camp in Dofes in 2011.[3]

Forces Operating in Aden and Abyan

25th Mechanized Brigade: Commander,  Brigadier General Mohamed Abdullah al Somali; Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Ahmed Abdul Rab Mashour Ahmed al Hassal, appointed November 17, 2011

31st Armored Brigade: Commander, Major General Salem Ali Qatan, appointed March 1, 2012

39th Armored Brigade: Commander, Brigadier General Mohammed Ghaleb al Jarabani

111th Infantry Brigade: Commander, Farj Hussein Abu Bakr Tawfiq, appointed November 17, 2011

115th Infantry Brigade: Commander, Brigadier General Abdu Rabbu Hasan Salem; Member, Colonel Ali Saleh Kardah

119th Infantry Brigade: Commander, Brigadier General Faisal Rajjab

201st Mechanized Brigade: Commander, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Salem al Subaihi, appointed March 12, 2011 


[1] “Tens of militants killed including militants’ leaders in Dofes and Abyan, tribes demand that the Southern Military Zone stop conspiring against ’25,’” Mareb Press, July 23, 2011 [Arabic]. Available:
“115th Infantry Brigade in al Jawf without leaders while youth movement assumes protection of government defections,” al Masdar Online, March 21, 2011 [Arabic]. Available:
“News that al Qaeda has taken over one of the 115th brigade's camps near Zinjibar,” al Tagheer, March 4, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
[2] “Al Qaeda's ‘Flooding River’ targets army units around Abyan,” Al Watanye, March 4, 2012 [Arabic]. Available:
“Details of Abyan Attacks Emerge,” Yemen Times, March 8, 2012. Available:
[3] “Mahdi Makwala still leader of the Southern Military Zone,” al Masdar Online, June 13, 2009 [Arabic].
Ahmed al Haj, “140 dead in al-Qaida attack on Yemen army,” Associated Press, March 5, 2012. Available:
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