Saudi-led coalition in Yemen monitoring cease-fire in Abyan

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen deployed troops to the southern province of Abyan following a truce reached between the war's two nominal allies.

al-monitor A fighter of the UAE-trained Security Belt Force, dominated by members of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which seeks independence for south Yemen, walks with a separatist flag past an oil tanker set ablaze during clashes between the separatists and the Saudi-backed government forces at the Fayush-Alam crossroads on the eastern entrance Aden from the Abyan province in southern Yemen on Aug. 30, 2019. Photo by Nabil HASAN / AFP.

Jun 24, 2020

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen has sent troops to Abyan province to keep tabs on a cease-fire reached this week between the government and a southern separatist group. 

The coalition announced Monday that the Emirati-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the Saudi-supported government had agreed to a cease-fire and would begin talks on implementing the power-sharing agreement reached in November. 

The deal comes after months of fighting between the two sides in the southern province of Abyan. In mid-May, government troops launched an offensive aimed at pushing the separatists out of the southern province. 

Despite the newly implemented truce, the fighting has continued in Abyan. An STC spokesperson told Arab News that government forces launched a major offensive from the coastal town of Shouqra on Tuesday. Government forces said they were acting in self-defense to a separatist attack on their positions. 

The STC declared in April autonomous rule over the country’s southern provinces, including the strategic port city of Aden, which functions as the de facto capital of the Saudi-backed government. Over the weekend, the separatists took control of the island of Socotra, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gulf of Aden. 

The ongoing power struggle between the nominal allies in the Saudi-led coalition complicates efforts to end the wider civil war with the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa and much of the country’s north. 

Since 2015, the war in the Arab world’s poorest nation has killed over 100,000 civilians and left more than 80% of the population reliant on some form of humanitarian assistance.

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