The United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday that it had withdrawn its troops from Aden, in southern Yemen, and given control of the port city to Saudi Arabia, which leads the Arab coalition fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in the country. The UAE began drawing down its Yemen-based troops in June. According to a statement by the General Command of the UAE armed forces, Emirati troops that were pulled out of Aden would “resume, jointly with their allies, their fight against terrorist forces in South Yemen and other regions.” Until now, the UAE has backed separatists of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which is seeking to redivide Yemen, a country with a long history of North-South differences. Yemen was unified in 1990 but was racked by civil war in 1994. Since 2015, factions loyal to the government of exiled President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, along with the STC separatists, have been fighting the Houthis for control of the country in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, and displaced more than 3 million people. The move by the UAE is seen as contributing to a Saudi-negotiated deal to advance cooperation between the separatists and forces loyal to Hadi.
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