Yemen’s government announced it has assumed control of the de facto capital from southern separatists on Wednesday, August 28.
“The heroic officers and members of the Presidential Protection Brigades have completely secured al-Masheeq Palace in the temporary capital Aden and all surrounding areas,” Moammar al-Eryani tweeted.
“The national army and security services are in complete control of the directorates of the Aden governorate to the great relief and welcoming of the people,” Eryani wrote.
Members of the Southern Transitional Council captured Aden’s presidential palace earlier this month after four days of fighting against forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who currently lives in exile in Saudi Arabia.
Together the STC and government forces comprise most of the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels in the north.
The STC is supported primarily by the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has denied backing the STC’s separatist ambitions, which experts say threaten to further unravel Yemen’s civil war.
The STC has called for secession of Yemen’s south to address what they consider a history of exploitation and marginalisation of their people.
A joint Saudi-Emirati military delegation arrived in Aden earlier this month in an attempt to preserve the alliance.
Yemen’s government has redirected forces from the country’s north to regain control in the south.
Government forces retook control of oil-rich Shabwa province from southern separatists earlier in the week and claimed control of Abyan province on Tuesday. Al-Eryani also declared Yemen’s Lahj governorate under government control on Wednesday.
Yemen’s government has vowed to retake areas from the STC by force, calling on the separatists to “lay down their arms” and surrender.
The new fighting comes despite repeated calls for a ceasefire by the Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in the war in 2015 in support of the Hadi government after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa and much of Yemen.
Yemen’s civil war has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, in what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
In a joint statement this week, Saudi Arabia and the UAE called for cooperation with a coalition committee and for peace talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
With reporting from AFP.