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US deploys over 200 soldiers in S Yemen, stations assault ship

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (file photo)

The United States military has deployed more than 200 US Marines in the port city of Mukalla in the central province of Hadramout, Yemeni media say.

The forces were deployed in the important seaport and oil terminal on Saturday, Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah news website reported.

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer with more than 1,200 sailors and Marines as well as a group of vessels aboard were also stationed offshore in the Gulf of Aden.

Yemen’s southern coast is now under the control of US troops, who are deployed to the region under the pretext of battling al-Qaeda militants.

On Friday, an Apache helicopter and six Black Hawk choppers also arrived in the al-Anad Air Base in the southwestern province of Lahij.

The deployment of US troops comes a year after the withdrawal of its forces from Yemen. On March 21, 2015, the US evacuated its remaining forces from the airbase “due to the deteriorating security situation” a day after al-Qaeda captured the nearby city of al-Houta.

Pentagon also announced on Friday that it sent a group of its commandos to Yemen.

“The AQAP (al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) remains a significant security threat to the United States and to our regional partners and we welcome this effort to specifically remove AQAP from Mukalla and to degrade, disrupt and destroy AQAP in Yemen,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Direct peace talks fail

Meanwhile, representatives of Yemen’s former regime withdrew from direct peace talks with Houthi Ansarullah movement in Kuwait. The Saudi-backed delegation said that they pulled out of the negotiations since no progress has been made so far.

UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (R) talks with UN spokesman Charbel Raji during a press conference on May 5, 2016, at the information ministry in Kuwait City. (AFP)

Now, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has to shift back to indirect negotiations and separate consultations. The Saudi-backed delegation has repeatedly left the negotiating table since the start of the talks on April 21.

The peace talks on Yemen entered its third week on Thursday but there has yet to be a breakthrough to establish peace as delegations trade accusations of violating the ceasefire that took effect on April 11.

The Ansarullah movement says ceasefire violations by the opposite side indicate that they are not sincere in reaching a solution to end the conflict in the Arab world's poorest country.

More than 9,500 people have been killed in more than a year of military conflict in Yemen as Saudi Arabia, which backs former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, has been incessantly bombarding areas under the control of Houthis.

The Saudi airstrikes have destroyed the infrastructure in Yemen as the impoverished nation struggles to cope with shortage of food and basic medications due to Saudi blockade of the Arab country. 

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