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Saudi troops arrive in Aden to secure Yemen’s south: military official - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, fighters against Shi'ite rebels known as Houthis stand on their armored vehicles on a road leading to Al-Anad base near Aden in the southern province of Lahej, Yemen. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, fighters against Shi’ite rebels known as Houthis stand on their armored vehicles on a road leading to Al-Anad base near Aden in the southern province of Lahej, Yemen. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi troops have arrived in Aden to help Yemen’s internationally recognized government to maintain security in the southern areas they recently liberated from Houthi rebels, a senior Yemeni military official has said.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the official said the presence of the Saudi troops in Aden at this stage is significant in the sense that they will help local government sectors to formulate future plans.

The deployment of the Saudi force also meant that government loyalists, known as the Popular Resistance force, would be able to carry on liberating the cities of Yemen from the Houthi rebels without having to worry about who will secure the newly captured areas, the official who requested anonymity said.

Forces loyal to exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, backed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and ground troops, retook the strategic Red Sea port city of Aden last month which they declared as a temporary capital.

President Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia in February after the Iran-allied militia, backed by followers of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, entered Aden.

This comes following a recent wave of violence in Aden, including the targeting of the governor’s office with an RPG followed by a bombing outside a security building.

The Aden-based government is reportedly in the last stages of launching a local police force, made up of about 4,000 Popular Resistance personnel. The police unit will be tasked with securing Aden and the newly liberated cities in the south of Yemen.

Saudi and Emirati experts, who are expected to arrive in Aden soon, will train members of the unit on how to handle violent attacks, protect citizens’ safety and enforce the law.

Meanwhile, Saudi-led coalition has sent military reinforcements to the central provinces of Ma’rib and Shabwa where fighters from the Popular Resistance are preparing to advance on Houthi-controlled Sana’a, Brig. Gen. Abdullah Al-Subaihi, commander of the 15th Brigade, said.

On Monday, Saudi-led warplanes doubled their airstrikes on rebel positions in the central provinces of Ma’rib and Al-Jawf in order to clear the way for allies on the ground to advance northwards, the Associated Press reported.

Monday’s bombardment killed at least 53 Houthis and destroyed a Scud missile, five military vehicles and three trucks loaded with weapons, local sources said.