On Saturday, the Security Belt Forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council seized military camps, government buildings and the presidential palace in the port city of Aden, which has been the seat of the internationally recognized Yemeni government. Riyadh, supporting the latter in its separate fight against Houthi rebels, has urged conflicting sides in Aden to hold urgent peace talks in the kingdom. The spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Col. Turki Maliki, in turn, called for an immediate ceasefire in Aden, starting at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday (22:00 GMT Saturday), and threatened those who would violate the truce with military force.
"The spokesman for the Southern Transitional Council, Eng. Nizar Haitham, confirmed the Transitional Council positive response to the statement of the leadership of the Arab Coalition, expressing its full commitment to the cease-fire," the council said in a statement, published on its website.
The violence in Aden erupted on Wednesday as security forces guarding the presidential palace in Aden engaged in clashes with the separatist forces. The ongoing escalation has already left dozens killed and injured. Moreover, media outlets point to the possibility of a new front opening in Yemen's civil war.
Additionally, the conflict in Aden has prompted concerns that it might provoke a row within the Saudi-led coalition supporting the Yemeni government in its fight against the Houthis, since the separatists are believed to be backed by the United Arab Emirates, one of the coalition members.
On Saturday, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, however, urged the conflicting sides in Aden to unite in the fight against Houthis.
The southern region of Yemen is seeking independence and the return of the status quo that existed before the unification of North and South Yemen into single state in 1990.