Yemen’s Interior Ministry has reported that thousands of troops finally managed to break the three and a half month siege on the city of Zinjibar in Abyan Province, and the Yemeni military now claims “most” of the province is under the army’s control.
The offensive has been a costly one, however, with the Defense Ministry confirming at least 230 Yemeni army soldiers were slain in the various battles fought in and around the province, which had been operating as an independent “Islamic Emirate” under the control of a group calling itself Ansar al-Sharia.
The group’s fighters were believed to be affiliated with the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) movement. It is unclear how many others were slain, but between the various gunbattles and weeks of air strikes by both the Yemeni government and the US military, it is believed to be several hundred, including a number of civilians.
Though the province in and of itself was not particularly valuable, the Yemeni military focused on reclaiming it, to the exclusion of several other provinces which also seceded over the past several months, in an effort to convince the West that the civil war in the nation is AQAP-centric.