New Turmoil in Yemen as Separatists Surround Presidential Palace in Aden

Infighting between forces supported by the Saudi and UAE-led coalition in Yemen to restore power to the legitimate government in Yemen is threatening to derail the larger campaign against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, according to reports.

Clashes broke out between the two once-friendly sides in Aden, Yemen this week, where the pro-Saudi elected government of Yemen is based. According to Bloomberg, about 36 people have been killed and 185 wounded in two days of fighting, which cited figures by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The fighting in Aden this week led to the Southern Yemeni separatists, backed by the UAE, to take control of the port city of Aden, confining the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to the presidential palace, Reuters reports.

According to Bloomberg, the secessionist Southern Transitional Council had supported the Saudi campaign, but a week ago it demanded Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi dismiss his administration, which it accuses of corruption, or have it toppled. When Hadi refused to comply, the separatists orchestrated anti-government rallies and fighting broke out.

The fighting has “been going on for more than 1,000 days, and yet both sides feel more emboldened today than ever,” writes Ben Watson in Defense One. “Meanwhile, less than half of the country’s hospitals are operational. Children are being recruited into war. The outlook is grim, and for a much larger area than just Yemen.”

The Saudi-led coalition, via the Saudi Press Agency, said it “has been watching with regret all over the past two days” the clashes in Yemen and “requests all parties to speed up the cessation of all clashes immediately.”

The coalition said it “will take all necessary measures to restore security and stability in Aden.”