The Yemeni army has recaptured al-qaeda strongholds in the south after a week-long onslaught.
The cities of Shuqra, Ja'ar and Zinjibar -- in the restive southern province of Abyan - that had been seized by al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), fell to the Yemeni army by Saturday as a result of a US-backed offensive against Islamist militants.
After sustained Yemeni operations, AQAP no longer controls those cities. These achievements come just weeks after the violent extremists were similarly pushed out of the city of Lawdar. Al-Qa'ida's presence in Abyan has had a devastating impact on the citizens there and prevented the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance desperately needed by the Yemeni people.
The United States commended the success of the Yemeni government, military, and people in re-taking important areas of southern Yemen. "We extend our deepest condolences for those who lost their lives and note the courageous efforts of Yemeni citizens who joined with the Yemeni military in the fight against terrorism," State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement. Their bravery serves as a reminder that the Yemeni population rejects al-Qa'ida and the violence it promotes, she noted.
As Yemeni security services continue to reclaim territory previously held by AQAP, we encourage the prompt restoration of civilian authority, humanitarian relief, and essential public services across Yemen, the statement added.
The United States vowed that it "remains committed to working with Yemen as it addresses the many challenges it faces - in the security realm as well as political, economic, and humanitarian affairs." Washington promised that it will "continue to work with President Hadi and the Yemeni people in their efforts to rebuild their nation and ensure long-term stability, safety, and security in Yemen."
by RTT Staff Writer
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