Yemen Pro-Government Forces, STC Begin Military Pullout from Abyan
Pro-government and Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces began a gradual withdrawal in Abyan province under a Saudi-led military committee tasked with enforcing the arrangements of the Riyadh Agreement, Yemeni military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The sources said Tuesday that the STC’s 9th shock brigade, led by Farouq al-Kaalouli, began pulling out from its positions to bases where it was deployed before the clashes of August 2019.
The pullout would gradually gather pace in the coming days as security forces in Abyan prepare to assume their responsibilities in the province.
Under the new arrangements, the Presidential Protection Forces would also return to Aden to protect the presidential palace.
Last Thursday, the legitimate Yemeni government and the STC discussed the implementation of phase two of the Riyadh Agreement, which includes collecting all medium and heavy weapons from all military and security forces in Aden within 15 days of signing the agreement and stipulates that both sides withdraw forces from Aden within three weeks.
According to the sources, several military brigades would be redeployed in areas between Abyan, the western coast, and fronts bordering Houthi-controlled areas.
Prior to the military withdrawal, the two sides secured the release of detainees and prisoners, under Saudi sponsorship.
In the coming days, and also as part of the Riyadh agreement, the Yemeni President is expected to appoint a governor and a security chief for Aden province, based on the standards of competence and integrity.
The Riyadh Agreement was signed on Nov. 5 between Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the STC under the auspices of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.