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Saudi Arabia sends reinforcements to Aden

July 22, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Saudi forces in Aden on November 18, 2019. [SALEH AL-OBEIDI/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia has sent two planeloads of troops and armoured vehicles to Aden. The military aircraft landed at the southern port city’s airport on Monday amid tight security by Saudi forces already stationed there. The troops are reported to have turned off all of the airport lights, said the Yemen Press Agency.

The Saudi troops and vehicles headed to the Presidential Palace, Al-Maashiq. They are believed to be securing it as a prelude to the return of the Riyadh-based internationally-recognised Yemeni government.

The development follows similar reports earlier this month citing local sources that three Saudi military convoys arrived at a coalition base in Al-Buraiqah district in Aden. They are said to have entered Yemen from the Kingdom via Al-Wadea border crossing which connects the eastern province of Hadhramout with the Saudi governorate of Sharorah.

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The Saudis have renewed calls for the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) to attend discussions surrounding the power-sharing Riyadh Agreement signed in 2019. The STC currently controls large swathes of southern territory where its forces have frequently clashed with Saudi-backed militias. Both sides accuse the other of reneging on the agreement. Last weekend, a demonstration in Hadhramout called on northern forces to leave the south and relocate to the front lines against the Houthi-aligned Yemen army.

Although Aden is supposed to serve as the interim capital of the Yemeni government, the STC has twice seized the city. Earlier this year, STC militias stormed the presidential palace, prompting Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed and other cabinet members to flee the country.

The arrival of more Saudi troops also comes amid heightened tension in relations between the Kingdom and its coalition partner the UAE. Some pro-government commentators in Saudi Arabia have denounced Abu Dhabi for its role in Yemen.

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