Yemen: Pro-Hadi forces advance north, al-Qaeda progresses south

As pro-Hadi fighters and coalition forces continue to progress towards the Yemeni capital, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is also strengthening its presence in the southern part of country, continuing to take over territories and state infrastructures while the Islamic State group also has control over areas in and around Aden.

Colonel Arraf Mohsin Al Obaidi, a member of Sana’a Resistance Council, said the Houthi movement fled the Nehim district and pro-Hadi forces are now “in control of all the mountainous area and military positions in Nehim including the headquarters of Brigade 312 and Al Goroud Mountain.”

The victory brings them nearer to Sana’a but in the south, AQAP took over a police headquarters in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan Province, after controlling other government buildings. The al-Qaeda branch in Yemen now completely controls the coastal road between Zinjibar and Mukalla, their stronghold, as they also impose their authority in the towns of Azzan, Shoqra and Ahwar.

Aden, the country’s temporal capital, however continues to be under the control of the Hadi government but security continues to be a major concern as authorities are targeted by extremist groups.

Sources have stated that coalition forces have intensified their airstrikes on Houthi controlled areas and Al Obaidi said the district of Arhab is their next target as they strive to reach Sana’a. He admitted that “liberating the capital requires big decisions and more troops.”

On the sidelines of the war, the US continues to target leaders of AQAP and on Thursday announced that it had killed Jalal Belaidi, a regional emir responsible for multiple provinces in Yemen, but sources hinted that the group has named his brother Tawfiq Belaidi as the emir of Zinjibar.

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