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UAE-backed separatists celebrate victory in south Yemen

Yemenis attend a support rally for the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council [CGTNOfficial/Twitter]

The UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council has declared victory over the UN-backed government of Yemeni President Abd rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the southern city of Aden today.

In a tweet STC Vice President Hani Bin Brik declared victory as the separatist forces took control of the city of Aden and the gates of the Maasheeq Palace. Prime Minister Ahmad Bin Dhager’s government is still inside the palace with negotiations underway for the cabinet to leave the city.

Aden residents claimed that the STC fighters overpowered Hadi’s forces in central Aden’s Crater and Tawahi districts.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has financially and militarily assisted the STC since 2017. The UAE’s activities in south Yemen are in direct contrast to the mandate permitted by Hadi when he called on neighbouring countries to help him oust the Houthis in March 2015.

Early this week, Hadi called out the UAE for leading a “coup” in Yemen. Last year, he declared the Emirates as “behaving like occupiers”.

Read: UAE commits torture in Yemen

The latest conflict uptick in the south has shifted conflict dynamics. In the west coast of Yemen, the UAE-backed STC forces ventured out in a new alliance formed in December 2017 to fight the Houthis. The objective was to regain the port city of Hudaydah, the capital Sana’a and Ta’iz. It is likely that the alliance will now break, allowing the Houthi group to retake territory lost to the new alliance.

Mohammed Al-Jabir, Saudi ambassador to Yemen, said the coalition “will take all necessary action to restore security and stability in Aden”, requesting parties to the conflict in the south to end armed hostilities.

The STC seeks to secede from northern Yemen, and declared an independence from Hadi in May 2017 with the support of the UAE.

Read: Two Hadi loyalists killed in US drone strike

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