Rival Saudi-, UAE- backed militants claim advance in southern Yemen amid infighting

Saudi-backed militants loyal to Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have claimed advances in the fight against once-allied UAE-backed militants in southern Yemen, who have denied the claim.

A source in the government of former president Hadi said the Saudi-backed militants captured the city of Ja'ar in the southern province of Abyan on Sunday following fierce clashes with the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) separatists.

The source told Anadolu Agency that Abdel-Rahman Shineini, a senior commander of STC militants, had been wounded during the fighting.

STC spokesperson Mohammad al-Naqib, however, dismissed the report, saying the UAE-backed militants had repelled an "infiltration attempt" against the city.

"Within half an hour, the infiltrators were eliminated," he said in a tweet.

Yemen's southern regions have witnessed renewed clashes between Saudi-backed militants and STC separatists since the Southern Transitional Council in late April declared a state of emergency and announced “self-administration rule” in Yemen’s southern areas, including the port city of Aden which has served as the seat of Hadi’s regime.

Saudi Arabia said the declaration violated the Riyadh-brokered agreement which Hadi loyalists and the STC had signed last November to end their power struggle in southern Yemen.

The STC’s “self-rule” announcement has deeply divided the Saudi-led coalition of aggressors which has been waging a bloody war on the Yemeni people since 2015.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back to power and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed more than 100,000 lives since its onset.

The war has also displaced some 3.6 million other Yemenis so far.


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