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South Yemen in tumult as Yemen government, separatists face off in Abyan

Saudi-backed government forces in Yemen launched an offensive in the southern province of Abyan against UAE-backed southern secessionists who declared self-rule in the southern governorates last month.
TOPSHOT - Fighters from of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) fire towards the positions of Saudi-backed government forces during clashes in the Sheikh Salim area in the southern Abyan province on May 11, 2020. (Photo by Nabil HASAN / AFP) (Photo by NABIL HASAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The conflict in south Yemen escalated abruptly over the last few days, undoing progress in the peace effort and risking a rise in armed confrontations in southern provinces.

On May 11, ferocious armed clashes between Yemeni government forces and southern separatists broke out in Abyan province in southern Yemen. Government forces led an offensive on the outskirts of the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC)-controlled Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, in a bid to recapture it. 

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