Government Forces Take Over UAE-backed Separatist Camp in South Yemen

The separatists are part of the Western-backed alliance fighting the Houthis since 2015, but have a rival agenda to the Saudi-backed government

Fighters with the UAE-trained Security Belt Forces loyal to the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) man a checkpoint near Zinjibar, Yemen, August 2019.

Yemeni military officials say forces loyal to the country's internationally recognized government have wrested control of a military camp from a separatist militia backed by the United Arab Emirates just outside a key southern city.

They say government forces seized control on Saturday of the Elite Force militia's camp, west of the city of Ataq, the capital of oil-rich Shabwa province.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief the media.

>> Read more: Why Saudi Arabia and UAE bicker as Yemen is torn to pieces ■ Why the failed Saudi campaign in Yemen is bad news for Israel | Analysis

The camp's takeover came a day after government forces pushed the Elite Force out of Ataq.

The United Arab Emirates-trained militia is part of the Southern Transitional Council, which launched an offensive earlier this month to take strategic southern areas from government forces, including the city of Aden and nearby Abyan province.

The separatists are a major component of the Western-backed alliance that intervened in Yemen against the Houthis in March 2015, but have a rival agenda to the Saudi-backed government. The war has revived old strains between north and south Yemen, formerly separate countries that united into a single state in 1990.

Reuters contributed to this report.