Aden: The Southern Transitional Council (STC) took control of the port city of Aden after two days of fighting, residents said on Tuesday, confining the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to the presidential palace.
Fighting between STC and forces loyal to Hadi risks crippling their united campaign against the Iran-aligned Al Houthi militia in Yemen’s north.
Residents said forces loyal to the STC seized the last stronghold of Hadi’s Presidential Protection Forces in the Dar Saad area of northern Aden, in battles that at times involved heavy artillery and tank fire.
Aden residents said STC fighters had earlier overrun Presidential Protection forces outposts in central Aden’s Crater and Tawahi districts.
They stopped outside the Al Maasheeq palace, where Prime Minister Ahmad Bin Daghr’s cabinet is based, they said.
Witnesses said hundreds of people danced and sang as they celebrated the STC victory with fireworks that lit the night skies over Aden. Mosques also mixed their calls for prayers with victory claims in Crater, residents said.
The government-run Saba news agency put the death toll in two days of fighting at 16 and the number of wounded at 141.
An official at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said at least 36 were killed and 185 were wounded.
The fighting began on Sunday, with the STC accused of corruption and mismanagement. The government denies the allegation.
Sources at the STC said negotiations were underway to allow Bin Daghr’s government to leave the city safely, but a government source said Bin Daghr had no intention to leave Aden.
The Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to uphold he legitimacy of Hadi’s government after Al Houthis forced him into exile, called in a statement on Tuesday on both parties to cease hostilities.
“The coalition will take all the measures it deems necessary to restore stability and security in Aden,” it said.