SANAA, Yemen: Forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognized government have taken full control of a key southern city after overnight clashes with separatists, Yemeni security officials said Friday.
Clashes over Etq, the capital of oil-rich Shabwa province erupted late Thursday night and lasted until Friday morning, said the security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because there were not
authorized to talk to the media.
Separatist militiamen of the so-called Southern Transitional Council, have so far seized strategic southern areas, including the city of Aden and much of the nearby Abyan province.
A Saudi-Emirati commission flew to southern Yemen last week to negotiate a truce between the government forces and separatists but has so far made no progress.
In a tweet posted early Friday, Hani Ben Braik, a separatist leader, would not admit defeat at Etq but said his militiamen chose not to pursue a battle in the city out of “respect” for the truce efforts.
However, Ben Baraik warned his forces would fight back if they were attacked again.