News / Middle East

Yemeni Troops Recapture Southern Cities from al-Qaida

Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012. Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
x
Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
Michael LipinMargaret Besheer
Yemeni officials say government troops have recaptured two al-Qaida strongholds in the country's south after a month-long offensive against the militant group, which seized the areas more than a year ago.

Officials said Tuesday that Yemeni troops and their tribal allies took full control of Abyan's provincial capital, Zinjibar, and the town of Jaar to the north. They said government forces also re-opened a major highway linking Abyan with the southern port of Aden.

Yemeni officials said troops drove into Jaar early Tuesday after a battle that killed 20 militants and four soldiers. Residents celebrated the soldiers' arrival by firing weapons into the air. Hours later, officials said the troops completed the takeover of Zinjibar.

Al-Qaida militants seized parts of Abyan last year while the government was pre-occupied with fighting a pro-democracy uprising against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. His successor Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi launched a U.S.-backed military offensive last month to recapture those areas.

Yemeni Troops Recapture Cities From al-Qaida (View Photo Gallery)

x
  • Army soldiers guard the gate of the local authority's compound in the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar after the army retook the city from al-Qaida-linked militants, June 12, 2012.
  • A military vehicle and tanks drive near the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar after the army retook the city from al-Qaida-linked militants, June 12, 2012.
  • A building damaged during fighting between army forces and al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar, June 12, 2012.
  • Army tanks drive on a street in the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar, June 12, 2012.
  • Yemen's Defence Minister Major General Ahmad visits the front line of fighting between army forces and al-Qaida-linked militants in Abyan, June 10, 2012.
  • Members of the Republican Guards Force at the front line of fighting against al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
  • Yemeni army forces fire a missile towards positions of al-Qaida-linked militants in Abyan, June 10, 2012.

Yemeni Troops Recapture Cities From al-Qaida (View Photo Gallery)

Government victory

Brookings Doha Center conflict resolution expert Ibrahim Sharqieh told VOA the fall of the al-Qaida strongholds represents a major victory for Mr. Hadi, who took office in February.

Speaking by phone from Qatar, he said he expects Yemeni troops to advance on another city, Shuqra, in the coming days.

"If the army is able to take this city back, then we should be talking about al-Qaida disappearing from major cities in Abyan," he said.

Sharqieh said one factor contributing to al-Qaida's downfall in the region is that local communities turned against the group.

"They have showed whether it is in the first city of Lawdar or now in Jaar or Zinjibar that the local militia, local communities collaborated highly with the Yemeni army and they fought alongside to expel al-Qaida fighters from their cities," he said. "This has been truly a key factor for their success."

The Brookings expert said President Hadi's ability to take control of army divisions from allies of his predecessor also helped the Yemeni military's fight against al-Qaida.

Mr. Saleh's critics had long accused him of holding back the military from defeating al-Qaida in order to fuel instability in the country and justify a continuation of his three-decade long autocratic rule.

UN warning

The military moves come as the U.N. Security Council sent a strong message Tuesday to all stakeholders in Yemen’s political process, saying if they undermine the country’s political transition to democracy they could face international sanctions.

The 15-nation Security Council voted unanimously for a resolution calling on all Yemeni actors to reject violence, hold an inclusive national dialogue and stop undermining the political transition put in motion.

If that fails, the council will consider sanctions against those obstructing the process.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who was one of the sponsors of the text, said potential spoilers should read the resolution carefully.

“Because it makes clear that any spoilers, those who are trying to disrupt the transition, disrupt the national dialogue, disrupt the national unity government, will be held accountable," he said. "And the council expresses itself ready to adopt measures under Article 41, which as you know, includes various sanctions measures for all those who are trying to spoil the process.”

Yemen’s Ambassador Jamal Al Salal welcomed the resolution. He said Yemen has made significant progress, but difficulties and challenges persist. He said the country is facing a deteriorating humanitarian situation and shortages of basic services and security threats.

Lipin reported from Washington and Besheer from the United Nations.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bahlwl from: yemen
June 13, 2012 3:54 PM
Ali Abdulla Saleh and his son are supporting al-Qaida to make Yemen not steady


by: Bahlwl from: yemen
June 13, 2012 3:45 PM
That the United States victory
Our victory will be when Ali Abdulla Saleh and his son go out from Yemen

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid