Pro-gov’t forces take Ye­men province

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Gulf-sup­ported forces loyal to Ye­men’s ex­iled gov­ern­ment on Satur­day re­took a fifth province in the coun­try’s south, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials said, as they con­tin­ued their ad­vance against Iran-backed rebels.

The rebels “with­drew” and “handed over” Shabwa to the pro­gov­ern­ment forces af­ter they were promised a safe route out of the province, a mil­i­tary of­fi­cial told AFP.

Other army of­fi­cials con­firmed the rebel pull-out.

“The province was handed over” to the South­ern Move­ment, a se­ces­sion­ist group whose mil­i­tants have been fight­ing in loy­al­ist ranks, said Salem al-Awlaqi, a po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist in Shabwa.

Loy­al­ist forces in the south launched an of­fen­sive last month against the rebels, forc­ing them out of main south­ern city Aden in midJuly.

They later ad­vanced re­tak­ing the prov­inces Daleh, Lahj, and Abyan, in ad­di­tion to Shabwa — which has sub­stan­tial oil re­serves.

Com­plain­ing of marginal­i­sa­tion, the Shi­ite Huthi rebels de­scended from their north­ern strong­hold last year and seized cap­i­tal Sanaa un­op­posed be­fore ad­vanc­ing on sec­ond city Aden in March.

Rene­gade troops still loyal to for­mer pres­i­dent Ali Ab­dul­lah Saleh, who re­signed in 2012 fol­low­ing a year-long pop­u­lar upris­ing against his rule, have joined the Huthis.

On the other side, the south­ern se­ces­sion­ists have joined ranks with pro-gov­ern­ment troops as well as lo­cal Sunni tribes to form what they have dubbed Pop­u­lar Re­sis­tance Com­mit­tees.

The con­flict has cost nearly 4,300 lives since March, half of them civil­ians, ac­cord­ing to UN fig­ures, while 80 per­cent of Ye­men’s 21 mil­lion peo­ple need aid and pro­tec­tion.

The five prov­inces re­taken by pro-gov­ern­ment troops, along with Mahra and Hadra­mawt, which the rebels never en­tered, com­prise what was for­merly known as the in­de­pen­dent South Ye­men.

It was its own state be­tween the end of Bri­tish colo­nial rule in 1967 and its union with the north in 1990.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.