DAMASCUS, SYRIA (09:50 PM) – According to local sources reported by Yemen Press, the separatist high command called the Southern Transitional Council, has sent large amounts of reinforcements to Aden.
The Southern secessionists reportedly sent large amounts of troops from the Dhale and Shabwah provinces to Aden on Monday, a day after heavy clashes between separatists and Saudi-backed forces supporting former president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi took place in and around the port city.
STC militias clashed with the armed forces of Hadi on Sunday, after a deadline that the separatists issued for Hadi to dismiss his government and leave Aden, expired. STC units, supported by the United Arab Emirates, successfully took over several government buildings and military sites in Aden, prompting the Hadi forces to withdraw to their bases. At least 15 people were reported dead and over 130 wounded in the fighting.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, fighting continued overnight. The head of the Red Cross delegation in Yemen, Alexandre Faite, wrote on social media:
“All night shooting in Aden, including heavy weapons.”
Sunday’s fighting broke out a week after STC leader Aidarous al-Zubaidi proclaimed that the pro-Hadi Yemeni “parliament” would no longer be allowed to convene in the city of Aden, unless Hadi dissolved his cabinet and sacked his prime minister Ahmed bin Daghr.
Zubaidi also issued a state of emergency in Aden and said “[The STC] has begun the process of overthrowing” Hadi’s rule over the South.
The conflict has caused a severe rift between the two armed groups that were until now allied in supporting the Saudi coalition’s attempt to destroy the revolutionary government of Sana’a and bring Hadi back to power. In 2015, shortly after the Saudi invasion of Yemen, Zubaidi even led the pro-Saudi forces in capturing Aden from Ansarullah (also known as Houthi) forces. However, tensions between the separatist organisation that Zubaidi supported and the Hadi regime arose quickly, reaching an apparent climax on Sunday.
Neither Riyadh nor Abu Dhabi has so far commented on the conflict between their proxy forces.