Local sources have revealed that UAE-backed mercenaries have relocated from Yemen's west coast and headed towards the port city of Aden, which the Southern Transitional Council (STC) claims as a capital for a future South Yemen state.
The sources, according to Al Jazeera, said that the "Giants Brigades" had withdrawn from its military bases following orders by the Emirati Force Command in Aden – which is currently under STC control after it was seized from the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in August.
Al-Manar TV reported that this decision was made following an apparent failure in attempts to negotiate a handover of the city by the separatists to the pro-Saudi Yemeni authorities.
There has been increased escalation in clashes between Saudi-backed forces against the Emirati-supported "security-belt" troops in the country's south. Adel Al-Hassani, commander of the Southern Resistance forces, reportedly told Al Jazeera that the arrival of the Giants Brigades is due to the tactical advances made by the pro-Saudi forces.
In relation to a possible handover of Aden back to the Yemeni government, UK spokesperson for the STC, Saleh Al-Noud told MEMO that whether such a deal materialises or not depends on several conditions including that local administration in the south remains with the STC, Saudi-backed forces be relocated from the southern provinces to the frontlines against the Houthis in the north with security affairs remaining in the hands of the STC and the inclusion of the council as an "equal partner" in the peace negotiations for a final settlement to the Yemen crisis.
In response to the reports, author and Fullbright Fellow in Yemen, Gregory Johnsen, tweeted: "Forming a new armed group (this time with Saudi backing) is the last thing Yemen needs."
This is papering over differences that are now too great to be bridged and forming a new armed group (this time with Saudi backing) is the last thing Yemen needs.
— GregorydJohnsen (@gregorydjohnsen) October 7, 2019