ADEN, Forces loyal to the internationally-recognised Yemen government � backed by the Saudi-led coalition � are made up of different groups, some of which have been accused of being largely unaccountable by Amnesty International.
The London-based rights group accused the United Arab Emirates, a key partner in the coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, of giving billions of dollars worth of arms to militias that answer to no-one and are known to be committing war crimes in Yemen.
We have to look more closely at the allegations in this particular
situation to find out what happened, Votel told the Senate Armed Services
Meanwhile, General Joseph Votel, who heads US Central Command covering the Middle East, also expressed concern Tuesday about a CNN investigation that found weaponry and equipment provided by the United States to Saudi Arabia and the UAE have ended up in the hands of militias across war-torn Yemen.
Some 10,000 people � mostly civilians � have been killed since 2015 when
the coalition intervened in the Yemen war, according to the World Health
Organization, although rights groups say the death toll could be five times
In the south and west of Yemen, there is a number of active armed groups
that seized land from the Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa and
much of the north.
The Giants Brigade, known as Al-Amaliqa in Arabic, was established in 2015
and is made up of about 15,000 men � some from the former Yemeni army while others are volunteers.
It is headed by Abdulrahman Abou Zaraa, who was a honey trader but was
promoted to a general by UN-recognised Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
The group, backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, took part in fighting the
Houthis along a 300-kilometre western coastal line between the
strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea port city of Hodeida.
The UAE-backed Security Belt was formed in three southern provinces �
including Aden, Lahij and Abyan � from where they pushed out the Houthi
rebels in 2015.
The armed group also played a key role in fighting Al-Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP), seen by the United States as the jihadist network's most
The Security Belt recruits from the country's southern separatist movement
that has long campaigned for the secession of southern Yemen, which was an independent country before unification in 1990.
Southern Yemen is now home to both the Hadi government and separatists,
whose alliance against the Houthis has become increasingly fraught.
The Security Belt has clashed with Hadi supporters for allegedly allowing
Islamists into their ranks and of being Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers.
The UAE has blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist
organisation and works to limit their influence in Yemen, especially in the
south which is under the control of Abu Dhabi-backed troops.
The Elite Forces are made up of two armed groups, one based in the Shabwa province and the other in Hadramawt.
It was established in 2016 with the support of the UAE.
The Elite Forces in Shabwa has more than 5,600 fighters, who succeeded in
flushing out AQAP from the province.
The Shabwa forces control most of the province except three districts
which remain under the control of the Hadi government.
In Hadramawt, the troops were key in driving AQAP out of the strategic
Mukalla port in April 2016.
In the central province of Marib, east of the capital Sanaa, there is
another battlefront against the Houthi rebels but it is inactive.
The National Army is loyal to vice president Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a former
army general, who is believed to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood but
nevertheless remains an ally of Saudi Arabia � which also has listed the
Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.
Source: NAM News Network