UAE-backed south Yemen forces ally with President Hadi

The Vice President of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) has expressed support for President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in a social media post yesterday.

Hani Bin Brek wrote on Twitter that the STC is keen on supporting Hadi, but there has been no clear confirmation by the organisation’s President, General Aidarous Al-Zubaidi. This comes at a time when actors in Yemen were uncertain on alliances following the killing of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh by the Houthi group last week in Sana’a.

Tribes surrounding Sana’a, including the STC, remained silent following the death of Saleh. Reports today have emerged that the STC forces are assisting Saleh’s army alongside President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s national army to recapture the ports of Hudaydah from the Houthis.

The Southern Transitional Council and Hadi have previously been at odds over governance of Aden and other areas, however the recent escalation in violence in Sana’a has altered the dynamics and created new alliances in the conflict.

Read: Yemen’s Saleh buried in Sanaa with handful of relatives present

The leader of the resistance force Tihama, located on the western coast of Yemen told Hadi that he is ready to form an alliance with the national army. One week on from the killing of Saleh, alliances have now shifted against the Houthi group.

The Houthis have already lost a military camp to the new allied forces in support of Hadi. The region of Khokha, 122 kilometres south of Hudaydah, was overtaken by military force, after fierce clashes which began on Thursday.

Hudaydah, a strategic port currently under the control of the Houthi group located just off the coast to the Red Sea, is anticipating an attack in the coming days. The UN previously warned of the disastrous impact it would have on imports to the country.

The Yemen civil war erupted in 2014 when the Houthi group alongside forces loyal to Saleh took over the capital of Sana’a. Hadi was forced to request support from a Saudi-led coalition to neutralise threats posed by the Houthi and Saleh alliance in March 2015.

Amid the growing sentiment towards the Houthi group, Hadi has capitalised on the alliances. It is uncertain how the alliances will develop if the Houthis are eventually pushed out of Hudaydah.

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