Yemen's Southern Separatists Say They Took Presidential Palace in Aden

Stringer  EPA  Rex  Shutterstock

Stringer EPA Rex Shutterstock

"The Saudi-led airstrikes precisely struck the convoy composed of terrorist and Islamist elements who were heading to fight the STC forces that played a role in combating terrorism", the officer said on condition of anonymity.

A source of Aden's local authority said that the STC's forces stormed the residential building of the country's Interior Minister Ahmed Maisry who fled using an armored vehicle towards the headquarters of the Saudi-led coalition forces in Aden.

A separatist military commander said they also took the all-but empty presidential palace but an official in the political wing of the movement later said an attempt to take it was still underway.

Battles resumed at dawn on Saturday, marking a fourth straight day of clashes between the separatists and forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised government.

"It is time for the main powers on the ground to hold serious and constructive talks to take Yemen towards a federation that appeases all sides under a united national framework", the group's deputy foreign minister, Hussein al-Azzi, tweeted.

Yemen's stalemated war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Saudi-backed government has claimed tens of thousands of lives, thrust millions to the brink of starvation and spawned the world's most devastating humanitarian crisis.

But another force in the anti-Huthi coalition, trained by Riyadh ally the United Arab Emirates, has since Wednesday been battling loyalists in Aden, the temporary base of Hadi's government. Hadi's government sees its formation as a move that "targets the county's interests, its future and social fabric".

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The southern region of Yemen is seeking independence and the return of the status quo that existed before the unification of North and South Yemen into a single state in 1990.

In January 2018, the southern separatists attempted to seize government facilities and military bases in Aden.

The UAE is a key member of the coalition.

The civil war in Yemen has devastated the country, killing thousands of civilians and causing shortages of food and medical care that have affected millions.

At least 45 people, both combatants and civilians, were killed in clashes overnight at the Fourth Brigade camp in Aden. An additional five civilians were killed in the surrounding Dar Saad neighborhood, according to health officials. Up to now the fighting has been confined to Aden. Much of the fighting is in the most populated areas of the city raising concern about the safety of civilians.

The force, known as the Security Belt, overran three military barracks belonging to unionist forces on Saturday and were surrounding the presidential palace, sources close to the force said. Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV said air traffic at the airport was normal.

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