Alwaght- Warplanes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reportedly have launched airstrikes against positions of Saudi-backed militants in support of allied separatists in Aden, signaling a deepening rift in the Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen,
Al-Jazeera cited military sources as saying that UAE warplanes attacked positions of Saudi-backed militants loyal to ex-Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, in the Alam area at the eastern entrance to Aden.
An unspecified number of pro-Hadi militants were killed in the clashes.
Earlier, sources from both sides said Thursday that the so-called Security Belt Forces, which forms the military wing of the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), managed to push back rival Saudi-backed militants from the city following fierce clashes, AFP reported.
“The Security Belt force completely controls the city of Aden along with its entrances,” Haitham Nezar, a spokesman for the STC said.
A pro-Hadi source also confirmed Aden was under full control of the STC, saying the Saudi-backed troops who entered parts of the city on Wednesday “withdrew from Aden” to the nearby Abyan province.
This comes a day after forces loyal to the Saudi-backed former Yemeni government re-entered the flash-point city which they lost to previously allied separatists earlier this month.
They had recaptured parts of the city, including the airport and the presidential palace.
The separatists have long eyed independence for southern Yemen. Prodded by the UAE, though, they had agreed to fight under the coalition’s command.
Recently, and after a decision by the Emirates to effectively pull its forces from Yemen, the group has turned its weapons to rival militia.
The infighting has highlighted deepening divisions between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two countries who are leading a coalition that waged a war on Yemen more than four years ago.
Southern Yemen was a separate country until it merged with the north in 1990.