Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Southern separatists in Yemen are saying that a number of government forces’ commanders are joining them as clashes continue between both sides in the temporary capital, Aden, since last weekend.
Hani ben Breik, deputy chief of the Southern Transitional Council, a UAE-backed body which promotes independence from the north, said on twitter that a number of commanders of forces loyal to Saudi-backed, internationally-recognized country president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, pledged loyalty to the council’s forces.
Those, he said, include military police chief in Lahaj province, Sabhry Taher, and Fadhal Baesh, commander of the special security forces, as identified by Breik. He shared a video of the latter making an announcement in that regard.
He said the council’s chief, Aydarous al-Zubaidi, assures other government forces’ commanders sheltered inside the presidential palace, Maashiq, they would be safe if they willingly join the southern council’s side.
Deadly clashes erupted last weekend after southern separatists accused the Islamist Islah Party, which is allied with the government, of targeting a convoy affiliated with them.
Saudi Arabia and UAE have been leading an Arab coalition since 2015 to back government forces against Houthi rebels who took over the capital, Sanaa and other regions.
But the UAE has reportedly been withdrawing its forces from some regions. Since then, tensions escalated between both government forces and the transitional council, though both have been opposed to Houthis since the start of the Saudi coalition’s war.