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Al-Qaeda joining Saudi-led forces in Ma'rib province: Yemeni govt.

Image shows Sudanese soldiers fighting alongside Saudi-backed forces southwest of Hudaydah on Yemen's southwestern coast, on 22 June 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The deputy foreign minister of Yemen's National Salvation Government based in Sana'a has warned that al-Qaeda forces are joining Saudi-led mercenaries in the strategic central Ma'rib province.

“The redeployment of al-Qaeda forces in Ma’rib is a major mistake that will serve no one and will cause a catastrophe that no side can avoid,” Hussein al-Ezzi warned in a tweet on Friday.

“[Former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur] Hadi and the [affiliated] Islah Party have to abandon such coward policies and malicious type of thinking,” he added.

According to Yemeni media reports, a large number of al-Qaeda affiliated forces have joined Saudi-led and pro-Hadi forces in Ma’rib from various provinces as the Saudi coalition braces for a looming Yemeni operation that seeks to liberate the strategic region.

Hadi resigned and fled the country to Riyadh in 2015 amid a political crisis. Saudi Arabia, along with certain allied states such as the United Arab Emirates, invaded Yemen in an attempt to restore him and crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. 

The Saudi war, however, failed to achieve its “objectives”, leaving tens of thousands of Yemenis dead and pushing the entire Arab country close to the brink of outright famine.

With the Saudi campaign mired by a quagmire, tensions have also erupted between Saudi-backed militants and UAE-backed separatists in southern Yemen, leading to violent clashes between them.

UAE-affiliated drones strike Hadi forces

The Saudi-led coalition’s push to recruit al-Qaeda forces against Yemeni troops in Ma’rib comes as infighting between UAE and Saudi-affiliated forces has increased in recent days.

According to local media, drones affiliated to the UAE-backed and separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) targeted troops loyal to the Saudi-backed Hadi near Zinjibar, the capital of the southern Abyan province late on Thursday.

The strikes resulted in a number of injuries among the pro-Hadi troops.

Infighting among the Saudi coalition has also led to some major defections among Saudi-led figures and mercenaries, with many previous pro-Hadi officials slamming the Saudi Arabia for seeking to partition Yemen.

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