Saudi-led coalition continues to redeploy warring Yemeni forces

Updated December 13, 2020

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IANS

Sanaa, Dec 13 (IANS) For the third consecutive day, military officials of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition continued redeployment of forces affiliated with the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and Yemen's government in the country's southern provinces.

Saudi Arabia seeks to implement a long-delayed power-sharing deal signed between the STC and Yemen's government last year as well as putting an end for internal military conflict between its nominal allies, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Saturday, military units of the STC completely withdrew from flashpoint areas in the country's southern province of Abyan and headed back to their locations in the neighbouring province of Lahj.

A military official told Xinhua that "the 15th Armored Brigade backed by other military units of the STC left Abyan and ceased the military operations there".

"The STC's military units honestly implemented the instructions given by the Saudi officials and moved out from Abyan to other areas determined by the observers," the source said.

He confirmed that a number of army units affiliated with Yemen's government were redeployed from the military contact lines on the outskirts of Zinjibar, capital city of Abyan.

The pro-government military units withdrew back to their previous headquarters in the country's southeastern province of Shabwa, according to the official.

Amin Hussein, spokesman of the pro-government forces in Abyan, told Xinhua that the process of rearranging the warring factions continued for the third day smoothly without obstacles.

He said that leaders of pro-government forces are continuing to hold meetings with the members of Saudi observing committee in Abyan to complete the withdrawal process.

According to Hussein, Saudi Arabia's military observers are dealing seriously with the military commanders of the warring factions and approximately succeeded in implementing the troop redeployment process so far.

On the other side, Mohammed Naqib, spokesman of the STC's troops, told Xinhua saying that the redeployment of warring troops proceeded gradually according to the mutual understandings between the factions under the Saudi officials' supervision.

"We received assurances from the Saudi observing committee that the other party also withdrew and implemented the orders as planned by the coalition," said Naqib.

On December 10, the two-warring sides finally reached a consensus on ceasing hostilities and conducting troops redeployment in the country's southern provinces ahead of declaring a new power-sharing government.

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition began the supervision of, through their military observers on the ground, the separation of the Yemeni military forces in Abyan and their return to the fronts, in addition to their exit from the capital Aden.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia persuaded the STC and the Yemeni government to hold reconciliation talks, which succeeded in reaching a deal to form a new technocratic cabinet of no more than 24 ministers.

But numerous obstacles have stood in the way of implementing the deal, which excluded the Houthi rebels who are still controlling the capital Sanaa and other northern provinces of the war-torn Arab country.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern regions including Sanaa.

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