UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) separatist fighters clashed with Yemeni-government-aligned forces and reportedly took control of two Yemeni government military bases in Zinjibar (Abyan province), some 60 km (40 mi) east of Aden, on Tuesday, August 20. The Hadi-led Yemeni government described the separatists' offensive as an "unjustified escalation"; the STC, for its part, has vowed to continue to keep control of Aden until the Islah Party, an Islamist constituent of the Hadi-led government, and northern Yemeni interests are ousted from positions of power in the south of the country.
Similar clashes are to be expected in southern Yemen over the near term.
Yemen is engaged in a complex and deadly conflict, ongoing since Houthi rebels entered into a civil war with the Yemeni government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition has carried out thousands of airstrikes in Yemen since its intervention began. Hundreds of Yemeni civilians have been killed in the strikes, which have hit schools, hospitals, and markets, in addition to Houthi militant positions and personnel. In total, more than 10,000 Yemenis have died in the fighting and some 3 million have been displaced.
Due to poor security conditions, many Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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