ADEN (Dispatches) – Military confrontations between rival mercenary forces loyal to the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) and Yemen’s former regime became imminent amid rising tensions over the control of key areas, a source told Xinhua on Saturday.
Tensions escalated in the wake of recent accusations by the former regime to the STC on refusing to implement a Saudi-brokered deal signed between the two rivals in 2019.
“The (former) government and the STC dispatched heavy troops backed by armored vehicles to areas near the coastal town of Shuqrah that’s located on the Arabian Sea,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
“The two sides are currently blaming each other for truce breaches and failure to implement the remaining security provisions of Riyadh deal,” he said.
He said the STC’s troops were fully prepared and ready to engage in new armed confrontations against the former regime forces in the country’s south.
On the other side, the former regime’s mercenaries raised the level of combat readiness of some units in an attempt to prevent the STC’s troops from advancement on-ground and seizing new key southern areas, according to the official.
Another official confirmed to Xinhua that the relationship between the two sides has deteriorated the situation in the region
“The STC that’s part of Yemen’s (former) government heavily deployed its military units and tightened the security measures in the strategic Socotra Island,” the official said anonymously.
Home to some 60,000 people, Socotra overlooks the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a main shipping route that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. It has a unique ecosystem.
Socotra has been a source of tension between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been vying for control of the resource-rich island.
Last June, UAE-backed separatists of the so-called STC took control of Socotra in a move described by former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi’s administration as “a full-fledged coup.”
The French-language news outlet JForum said in a report last August that the Zionist regime, in cooperation with the UAE, was planning to build intelligence-gathering bases on the Socotra island.