AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: A military committee led by Saudi officers in Yemen has transported heavy weapons from bases in the southern port city of Aden, a committee member told Arab News on Friday.
“We’ve moved tanks, cannons and ammunition from Aden military bases to a military outpost in Ras Abbas, on the outskirts of Aden,” said the member on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Under the Riyadh Agreement, the internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons to the Saudi-led military committee, which is tasked with collecting them at a location outside Aden before dispatching them to battlefields.
The committee is also charged with making other security and military arrangements, including the withdrawal of forces from the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan.
The Riyadh Agreement, signed in the Saudi capital in November, was designed to defuse tensions between both sides following bloody clashes last year in Aden, Shabwa and Abyan.
Residents in Aden reported seeing columns of lorries carrying tanks leaving military bases and heading to the city’s outskirts.
Despite failing to meet some deadlines included in the Riyadh Agreement, many of its terms have been implemented.
These include the return of the prime minister, the partial withdrawal of forces, an exchange of prisoners and the process of disarmament.
Following the relocation of military units, Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is expected to appoint a new governor for Aden before forming a new government.
On the battlefield, heavy fighting continued on Friday in the Nehim district just outside Houthi-held Sanaa as government forces, backed by Saudi-led warplanes, pushed forward to pave the way for the liberation of the capital. Dozens have been killed since Wednesday as both sides claimed gains on the ground.
In Marib, senior army commanders on Friday said the army would keep pressing its offensive until the Houthis are expelled from Sanaa.
At a meeting attended by the Saudi-led coalition commander in Marib, Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamed Al-Muzaini, Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdashi said the Yemeni Army is determined to push the Houthis out of Sanaa and other areas under their control, and to work on restoring state institutions.
The commanders discussed military plans and the recent escalation of fighting in Nehim, Jouf and Marib.
The conflict in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Houthis seized Sanaa and began expanding across the country.
A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has helped government forces advance on all fronts, pushing the Houthis to mountainous provinces in northern Yemen.