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Saudi Arabia to boost south Yemen troop presence, as separatists hunker down in Aden Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Saudi Arabia to boost south Yemen troop presence, as separatists hunker down in Aden

Many Yemenis still support the Hadi government [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 September, 2019

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Riyadh's ally the UAE has said it would withdraw troops from the south of Yemen.

Saudi Arabia will boost its troop presence in Yemen, as Riyadh attempts to contain clashes between pro-government forces and UAE-backed separatists in the south of the country, according to agency reports.

Saudi forces entered Shabwa province in armoured vehicles over the weekend, Reuters reported on Tuesday, an area which has seen intense clashes between pro-Yemen government forces and UAE-backed southern separatists.

Riyadh is looking to bolster its presence in Shabwa and Aden, where separatist forces - who want to establish a state in the south - have tried to extend their influence, leading to bloodshed.

"Saudi forces arrived in Shabwa and started working with the local government for a de-escalation and a ceasefire. All parties responded positively to the coalition's calls," coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said on Monday.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are the two leading powers in a coalition of Arab countries seeking to uproot Houthi rebels from the capital Sanaa.

Tensions escalated after the UAE said it would withdraw its forces from the war-torn country and upped its support for southern separatist militias who are opposed to the Riyadh-based Yemeni government.

Militias connected to the Southern Transitional Council have extended their presence in cities such as Sanaa after the withdrawal of Emirati forces over the past month.

With news of Saudi reinforcements to the south of Yemen, separatist fighters have withdrawn to Aden city to bolster defences.

Yemen has been at war since Houthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa in 2014, forcing the government to flee south.

A Saudi-led intervention force intervened in March 2014 and has seen thousands of civilians killed in air strikes.

This includes the bombing a Houthi prison over the weekend which killed at least a hundred people.

 

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