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US plans to keep special forces in Yemen: Report

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)
US Marines assigned to the 13th Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit are seen during operations on the bridge wing of guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), in the Gulf of Aden, April 30, 2016.

The US reportedly plans to extend its military presence in Yemen by keeping a force of special operations advisers in the war-torn country.

The force, deployed at the request of the Emirati government around the port city of Mukalla back in April, would remain in Yemen for the foreseeable future, The Washington Post reported. 

The force, which consists of about a dozen personnel, would help troops from the UAE fight militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the paper cited unnamed US officials as saying.

In March, forces loyal to former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Emirati troops overran the city of Mukalla after AQAP militants left the seaport in southeast Yemen.

Early in May, the US military deployed more than 200 US Marines in the port city, which is located in the central province of Hadramout.

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

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (file photo)

The deployment of the troops comes more than a year after the withdrawal of US forces from Yemen.

In March 2015, the US evacuated its remaining forces out of the al-Anad airbase “due to the deteriorating security situation” a day after al-Qaeda captured the nearby city of al-Hawta.

Al-Qaeda has become stronger in Yemen taking advantage of the chaos created by the Saudi military campaign against Houthis more than a year ago.

Lately, Riyadh and its allies have announced an offensive against al-Qaeda in a decision seen by analysts as an attempt to ward off international criticism of the Saudi intervention in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015, in a bid to bring Hadi — who is a staunch ally of Riyadh — back to power and defeat the Ansarullah movement.

More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.

The Saudi strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

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