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Yemen govt, 'Southern Council' swap captives in Aden

Yemen govt, 'Southern Council' swap captives in Aden
Aden has seen fierce clashes this week between govt forces and self-styled Southern Transitional Council

By Murat al-Arifi

SANAA, Yemen (AA) - The government and Yemen's self-styled Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Wednesday carried out a prisoner swap in the coastal city of Aden after three days of clashes, a local military source said.

For the last three days, Aden has witnessed on-again, off-again clashes between government troops and forces loyal to the STC, which government officials describe as "southern separatists".

Violence reportedly erupted on Sunday after pro-STC forces seized the government's headquarters in Aden, which has served as Yemen's interim capital since 2015.

According to Health Ministry officials, at least 21 people from both sides have been killed in the fighting.

The STC accuses the pro-Saudi government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi of mismanagement and "pushing Yemen to the brink of famine".

According to the military source, who spoke to Anadolu Agency anonymously due to security concerns, presidential guard units stationed at Aden's Maashiq Palace released 70 STC-linked captives on Wednesday in return for "dozens" of captured government fighters.

In a related development , the army's Third Brigade reassumed control of Camp Solban (located in Aden's Khormaksar district) after it had been captured earlier this week by pro-STC fighters, according to the same military source.

The handing-over of the strategic camp, the source added, had come about as the result of mediation efforts by a Saudi-led military coalition cobbled together in 2015 to fight Yemen's Shia Houthi militia group.

The coalition counts both the Yemeni government and the STC as among its allies.

The coastal city of Aden has served as a temporary headquarters for Hadi's Saudi-backed government since the Houthis overran much of the country -- including capital Sanaa -- in 2014.

The following year, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies -- who accuse the Houthis of serving as an Iranian proxy force -- launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

source: News Feed
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