Fresh fighting broke out in Yemen following the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cessation of violence and transition of power. Clashes in Aden, a city that had been relatively peaceful, may indicate the opening of a new front for al Qaeda-linked militants or for another armed opposition group.
Yemeni security forces are fighting defected troops and opposition tribesmen in Sana’a. Sana’a residents reported that Yemeni security forces are targeting the residences of Hashid tribal confederation leader Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar in al Hasaba, Soufan, and Natha districts in the capital city. In Tagheer (Change) Square, Yemeni security forces and defected First Armored Division troops clashed. Five defected soldiers were killed. Opposition tribesmen in Sana’a had taken control of the Shura Council compound in Sana’a, which government troops then retook. Additional reports indicate that opposition tribesmen captured other government ministries.
Security forces in Taiz continue to crack down on protesters. Opposition tribesmen and loyalist troops exchanged fire along Jamal Street and in Awadhi area in Taiz city. Fierce fighting has also been reported in the area from Shaab School to Ekhwah Roundabout; at least one person was killed. Yemeni security forces have blocked the roads that lead from the roundabout to the Military Hospital.
Violence broke out in Aden’s Crater district Thursday evening and is ongoing. Initial reports said that gunmen began fighting Aden residents and that shelling occurred in Crater. The identity of the gunmen is unknown; there are fears that they are linked to al Qaeda.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Yemen calling for a rapid transfer of power. The 15-member body voted unanimously to pass the resolution (UNSCR 2014), which called for the implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreement. A U.S. State Department statement noted that the resolution “sent a clear, unified message that the time has come” for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to begin a transition of power. A statement from the White House pledged U.S. support to Yemen after a transition of power. The Yemeni government has pledged to “deal positively” with the resolution.
The ongoing political crisis in the capital has placed the Yemeni state at risk of a broader armed conflict. Further, the Yemeni state has been undergoing fragmentation. Al Qaeda has seized control of territory in south Yemen and the current situation has increased the organization’s operating space in the country.
Please sign up for the Quick Take to receive these updates by email.