Yemen government takes control of city after separatist clashes

Yemeni fighters loyal to the government backed by the Arab coalition fighting in the country ride in the back of a pickup truck with mounted heavy machine gun. (AFP)
Updated 24 August 2019
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Yemen government takes control of city after separatist clashes

  • Fighting between the troops and forces linked to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) broke out in Shabwa on Thursday night
  • At least 11 people have been killed

SANAA: Yemeni government troops took control Saturday of the city of Ataq, two days after deadly clashes between loyalists and southern separatists in the capital of Shabwa province, a pro-government source said.
Fighting between the troops and forces linked to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) broke out in Shabwa on Thursday night, in the latest such confrontation.
At least 11 people have been killed, medical sources told AFP.
Fighters from the Elite Forces, established in 2016 and striving for the independence of southern Yemen, "were forced to retreat after entering a number of government buildings" in Ataq, the source told AFP.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the government troops took control of one of the Elite Forces' military camps.
"Fighting between the two sides has moved to the outskirts of the city," added the source.
The two have sent reinforcements to the area, the rival sides said on Saturday.
The flare-up in Shabwa comes after deadly clashes earlier this month between the government and troops from the so-called Security Belt, who are dominated by separatists seeking an independent south, erupted in Yemen's de-facto capital Aden.
The STC partially withdrew last week from key sites it occupied in Aden under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but it retains control of key military sites.
The STC has since driven government troops out of two military camps in Abyan province.
While the separatists have fought against the Houthis, STC forces want to see South Yemen regain the independence it gave up with unification in 1990.


Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

Updated 15 September 2019
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Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

  • The Syrian Observatory reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control
  • The Idlib region is one of the last holdouts of opposition forces

DAMASCUS: Thousands have returned to their hometowns in northwest Syria after military advances by government loyalist against militants and allied rebels, state media said Sunday.
“Thousands of citizens return to their villages and towns of the northern Hama countryside and the southern Idlib countryside,” state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control.
Since August 31, a cease-fire announced by regime backer Russia has largely held in northwestern Syria, though the Observatory has reported sporadic bombardment.
SANA said the returns came amid “government efforts to return the displaced to their towns and villages.”
The Idlib region of around three million people, many of them dispaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Moscow announced the cease-fire late last month after four months of deadly violence that displaced 400,000 people, most of whom fled north within the jihadist-run bastion, according to the United Nations.
Regime forces had chipped away at the southern edges of the jihadist-run stronghold throughout August, retaking towns and villages in the north of Hama province and the south of Idlib province.
Syria’s civil war has killed more than 370,000 people since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
Assad’s regime now controls more than 60 percent of the country after notching up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists with key Russian backing since 2015.
But a large chunk of Idlib, fully administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate since January, as well as a Kurdish-held swathe of the oil-rich northeast, remain beyond its reach.