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Yemen army enlists thousands of southern fighters: presidential adviser - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yemeni men, loyal to exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, take part in a military training in the city of Aden on August 29, 2015.  (AFP PHOTO / SALEH AL-OBEIDI)

Yemeni men, loyal to exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, take part in a military training in the city of Aden on August 29, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SALEH AL-OBEIDI)

Aden, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen’s exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi on Friday ordered the formation of a new brigade consisting of about 5,000 fighters mainly from the strategic city of Aden in a push to integrate southern loyalists into army ranks, a presidential adviser said.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Maj. Gen. Ja’afar Sa’ad, Hadi’s adviser, said Decisive Salman Brigade—named after the Saudi King—will be tasked with restoring stability and security to the areas under government control and preparing for the return of the exiled government.

President Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia in February after an alliance of Iran-backed Houthi militants and followers of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh entered Aden, the strategic Red Sea port city where Hadi had taken refuge after his government was toppled in late 2014.

Brig. Gen. Fadel Hassan, who led the Aden operation, will be in charge of the newly formed brigade whose recruits have already started to receive training, according to the official.

With the backing of Saudi-led coalition warplanes and troops, government loyalists, known as the Popular Resistance force, retook Aden last month and began spreading in the southern provinces of Lahj, Al-Dalea and Abyan.

Pro-Hadi tribal leaders from Ma’rib said they were in contact with tribes from outside the oil-rich province to coordinate attacks on Houthi positions, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

Also on Friday, fresh reinforcements and military supplies arrived in the outskirts of Ma’rib, 107 miles (173 kilometers) to the northeast of Sana’a, as the Saudi-backed fighters positioned there prepare to advance on the oil-rich province, a senior pro-Hadi commander said.

They include 400 military vehicles, the official said, and will take part in the Ma’rib operation.

“Preparations are underway and shrouded in strict secrecy,” a senior resistance commander told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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