Roundup: Southern forces deployed again in Yemen amid soaring tension 

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 23, 2020
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ADEN, Yemen, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) were deployed again on Sunday in Yemen's southern province of Abyan following two months of withdrawal, a government official said.

"The STC's military units were deployed again in some areas in the neighboring province of Abyan amid military extensive military preparations," a local pro-government official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The STC's military units were withdrawn from key areas and villages in Abyan in January in accordance with the Saudi-brokered peace deal signed with Yemen's government.

The Yemeni government source blamed the Aden-based STC for dispatching heavy forces to the neighboring southern province of Abyan and attempting to escalate the situation again.

On the other side, an official of the STC justified the deployment of their forces in Abyan as a legitimate move to protect the strategic southern provinces of any military invasion coming from the country's northern part.

"The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party forces officially joined the Houthi group and both factions attempt to militarily invade our liberated southern towns," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The STC is cooperating with the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and began with some necessary steps to secure the southern provinces against any attempts to destabilize the security situation, he said.

The STC official added that the government forces brought several army units from the northeastern province of Marib and also began preparing for attacking Aden again.

Military experts believe that Yemen's government forces and the STC's military units are both stepping up military preparations and may engage in the upcoming armed confrontations because of the continuing soaring tension on-ground.

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

But numerous obstacles prevented the implementation of the deal such as forming a new government and achieving permanent stability in southern Yemen.

The deal also included the return of the exiled Yemeni government to Aden and the unification of all military units under the authority of the country's interior and defense ministries.

The Saudi-brokered deal excluded the Iranian-backed Houthis 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 Houthi militia overran much of the country and seized all northern areas including Sanaa. Enditem

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