AFP / SALEH AL-OBEIDI
Fighters from Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council sit on the back of an armored vehicle in Aden’s northern Dar Saad district on January 30, 2018, as they move closer to taking control of the southern city
Separatists in war-ravaged Yemen’s de facto capital Aden, also laying siege to the isolated presidential palace on the city’s southern outskirts on Tuesday. Global charity Save the Children said it was suspending life-saving work in Aden as its staff was forced to hunker down the gun battles that the Red Cross said to have killed at least 36 people in the past three days.
A number of ministers on Monday night, docking in the district of Brega further west, a military source told AFP. Their official port of entry was confirmed, saying they were transported to a base of the Saudi-led coalition which backs Yemen’s government. But the ministers returned to Aden before dawn, after receiving guarantees from the coalition that the presidential palace would not be stormed, a government source said.
AFP / SALEH AL-OBEIDI
A tank in Aden’s northern Dar Saad district flies to the separatist southern Transitional Council as STC forces move closer to the southern city on January 30, 2018
The source said Saudi Arabia and its coalition are all in talks with southern separatists and Yemen’s government, which Riyadh supports in the war against Iran-backed Huthi rebels. The separatists, who advocate for self-rule in southern Yemen, now control seven of Aden’s eight districts.
Forces loyal to the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi holds the large northern district of Dar Saad, while ministers remain in the besieged presidential palace near the coast. Hadi ‘s government has been accused of separating from the dead in Aden, opening the door to the country’ s devastating conflict. – Save the Children – Save the Children on Tuesday said it was suspending critical humanitarian work in Aden out of fear for the safety of its staff. “Yemen Country Director Tamer Kirolos said, saying children are” dying every day from preventable causes “like hunger, cholera and diphtheria. “Aden was a relative refuge amid the fighting in Yemen, but now that has been shattered,” Kirolos said. “How many more innocent children must have their lives destroyed before the world takes notice?” The southern port city of Aden has served the government’s base since 2014, when the Iran-backed Huthi rebels – who hailed from northern Yemen – took control of the capital Sanaa. While President Hadi now resides in Riyadh, two military officials said Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher and a number of senior government figures remain in the Aden presidential palace.
AFP / Valentina Breschi
Conflict in Yemen
For three years, Hadi’s Saudi-backed administration was allied with the separatists, driving the Huthi rebels out of the south and back to their northern strongholds. But tension between the allies began in April when Hadi dismissed cabinet minister Hani bin Breik and Aden’s governor in a move widely seen as reflecting divisions among his supporters.
Tensions boiling over into armed clashes between the separatists and pro-government forces on Sunday, chaos firing in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country where a civil war has already left the dead and millions on the brink of starvation. – Demand for self-rule – Under the self-proclaimed Southern Transitional Council (STC), the separatists have gained traction in their push for self-rule, demanding the reinstatement of South Yemen as an independent entity. The STC this month called on Hadi to make changes in his government, accusing him of corruption and mismanagement. The clashes have sparked fears of a repeat of the 1986 South Yemen civil war, a failed socialist, and the unification of South and North Yemen. Brigadier Saleh al-Sayyed, who has been fighting alongside the separatists since Sunday, reported his forces of control of the Fourth Brigade, the presidential guard in Aden.
AFP / SALEH AL-OBEIDI
Smoke billows behind a fighter from Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council in the government de facto capital Aden on January 30, 2018, as STC forces move towards the full control of the southern city
Yemen’s president has urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to intervene to defend the government. The coalition said it would be “all necessary steps to restore security”.
The United Arab Emirates, a key coalition that has trained in the Yemeni army, has prominent separatist. The UAE-trained force, dubbed the “security belt”, is stationed in southern Yemen and supports the STC. Some troops in the Yemeni army are also loyal to the separatists. The coalition on Monday called on the separatists to exercise restraint, while urging the Yemeni government to “take into consideration the demands of the social and political movement” in the south.