UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Yemen’s internationally recognized government forces entered the provisional capital Aden on Wednesday in the south of the country, which is under the control of southern separatists after taking control of a nearby province.
This comes nearly three weeks after secessionists from the Southern Transitional Council (NTC) seized the city of Aden, the interim capital of the internationally recognized Yemeni government since the Houthi rebels seized Sanaa in September 2014.
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al-Iryani wrote on Twitter that “the first vanguard of the national army and the security services are arriving in the interim capital of Aden and start securing their directorates.”
Government forces also entered Aden airport and “took full control of the airport’s main gate,” he said.
A government security source told AFP that there was a “street war currently underway in Aden”, especially in the areas of Dar Saad, Medara and Khormaksar near the airport.
The entry of government forces to Aden comes after the restoration of forces loyal to the internationally recognized government of Yemen to control the province of Abyan.
On 20 August, southern separatists seized two security forces headquarters in Abyan, a special security camp in Zanzibar, the provincial capital, and another military police in the Kod between the province and Aden.
Security sources said forces loyal to the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi made progress after the arrival of military reinforcements.
For his part, Minister of Information in the internationally recognized government Muammar al-Iryani on Twitter, “heroes of the national army and security services regain the city of Zanzibar, the capital of Abyan province and complete their control over all districts of the province.”
The advance comes after government forces took control of Ataq, the capital of Shabwa province, last week.
The Yemeni Interior Ministry issued a statement urging southern separatists to “lay down their arms.”
“The return of the state to Aden is a victory for all the people,” Yemeni Prime Minister Moin Abdul Malik said in a tweet on Twitter.
The fighting comes despite repeated calls from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen for a ceasefire.
Southern separatists and government forces have been fighting together in a Saudi-led coalition against Houthi-affiliated rebels close to Iran, who have controlled large areas of the impoverished country since 2014, in a conflict that has put millions of people on the brink of starvation.
South Yemen was a separate state from the north until 1990.
In a speech on Tuesday night, Aidroos Al-Zubaidi, chairman of the Southern Transitional Council, said: Of the South and the building of an independent, fully sovereign federal state. ”
The separatists receive support and training from the UAE, which is the main partner in the military coalition supporting the Yemeni government against the Houthi rebels close to Iran.
The Yemeni government accused the United Arab Emirates of “responsibility in the armed rebellion” and urged it to stop supporting “this militia.”
Analysts say the fighting between the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the separatists may reflect a “wider rift” between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
The UAE denied accusations of supporting separatist movements, saying it would “do its utmost to reduce the escalation in southern Yemen.”
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi on Monday renewed their call for separatists and the Yemeni government to negotiate and engage Saudi Arabia in Jeddah.
Yemen has been at war since 2014 between Houthi rebels close to Iran and forces loyal to the government of recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which escalated in March 2015 as Saudi Arabia intervened at the head of a military alliance in support of government forces.
The war has claimed about 10,000 lives and more than 56,000 wounded since 2015, according to the World Health Organization, but a number of humanitarian officials believe the actual toll is much higher.
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