August 17 (Republican Yemen) ___ Paving the way for upcoming Saudi-sponsored reconciliation talks, Southern Transitional Council (STC) sources said their forces were vacating public buildings in Yemen’s port city of Aden that they had recently captured from forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after pulling out from the nearly empty presidential palace and central bank.
Yemen’s information minister, Muammar al-Iryani, confirmed the withdrawal process on Saturday.
“Measures are being completed to hand over the interior ministry and Aden refinery to presidential guard units under the supervision of the coalition,” he tweeted.
Earlier this week, the Yemeni government demanded the withdrawal of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces from the areas they controlled in Aden, south of Yemen, before engaging in any dialogue.
However, leaders in the STC said the forces would not quit the government military camps that give them effective control of the city.
“We will not retreat, we will not budge and planes will not scare us,” a statement from one of the brigades fighting as part of separatist forces said, in response to low-flying war planes.
Last week, the Saudi-led coalition said it attacked an area that posed a “direct threat” to the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, without providing details.
The escalation in Aden has now made the war in Yemen even more complex, as Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, has been battling the Houthis in northern and western Yemen since March 2015.