At least one US drone strike reportedly targeted a convoy of alleged AQAP militants near the town of Al Qawz, in the Mudiyah district of Abyan governorate, late on August 26th 2019. There was no known available information on casualties, and no known associated reports of civilian harm.
A local source told Al-Masdar Online that the strike had targeted two 4-wheel drive cars carrying gunmen near the town. Some social media sources suggested the militants were travelling to Bayda governorate. One source, @barca_Southern, further indicated that the militants had recently fought alongside Yemeni government forces in Ataq.
One Twitter source, @ali_alaslmy4700, suggested late on August 27th that a total of nine US strikes had targeted “terrorist elements” on the Shakra coast, between Abyan and Shabwa. This event possibly accounts for at least one of these alleged strikes.
Yemeni correspondent @MuradAbdo22 tweeted at 12.03am on August 27th that the strike had taken place an hour previously, leading Airwars to set the local alleged time of the strike at around 11pm.
The reports came a few days prior to the beginning of a reported Emirati air campaign in southern Yemen on August 28th 2019, apparently in support of secessionist militias with the Southern Transitional Council (STC). In a statement, the Emirati foreign ministry indicated that those later strikes had targeted “terrorist militias”, though others indicated that the strikes were targeting Yemeni military forces. AQAP militants have been previously reported to have fought alongside, and sometimes integrated into, Yemeni government forces. As such, it is possible that this event reflects an early Emirati strike.
On October 4th 2019, a US Central Command spokesperson told New America that no US military strikes had been conducted in Yemen since June 24th 2019. It is, however, possible that an undeclared strike was conducted by the CIA, or was part of a clandestine US military action.
The incident occured at approximately 11:00 pm local time.
Sources (26) [ collapse]
from sources (4) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the town of Al Qawz (القوز), for which the generic coordinates are: 13.88921, 46.14929. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
US Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
On October 4, 2019, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) replied to an email inquiry from New America confirming that “the last strike conducted by CENTCOM in Yemen was 24 June.” Per that statement, there were no CENTCOM strikes in Yemen in September 2019.
The lack of strikes in September makes it more than three months since the last U.S. military counterterrorism strike in Yemen, according to New America’s research. However, it is possible that the United States has conducted covert non-military strikes, and in recent years there have been a small number of strikes attributed by media reports to the United States that CENTCOM has denied conducting