Yemen’s internationally recognised government has announced the “liberation” of the country’s second city, Aden, following four months of intense battles between Houthi rebels and forces trying to oust them. Exiled Vice President Khaled Bahah said on his Facebook account on Friday that his government will try “to restore life” to the southern port city. Aljazeera was there:
“The government announces the liberation of the province of Aden on the first day of Eid al-Fitr which falls on July 17,” Bahah said, referring to the Muslim holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. However, a spokesperson for Houthi rebels told Al Jazeera that the announcement was a “lie”.
“There are many exaggerations. Fighting is still raging at high intensity,” he said over the phone. “We will not give up until we liberate Aden inch by inch from the invading powers.” Residents and local fighters told the Reuters news agency that low-level clashes were still continuing in the Tawahi district in the west of the city to sweep the Houthis from one of their last holdouts.
Fighters for the Popular Resistance – an anti-Houthi southern militia – have been making significant gains against their rebel opponents this week, including recapturing the provincial government headquarters in the Mualla district, opposite Aden’s main commercial port. In an interview with Al Jazeera from Aden, Bashraheel Bashraheel, deputy editor of Al Ayyam newspaper, said that 10 to 15 percent of the city is still controlled by the Houthis. He also said that a “large chunk” of the port of Aden is also under the hands of the Shia-affiliated armed rebels.