South Yemen Separatists Seize Control of Aden

Saudi-backed government forces quickly routed in southern capital

The port city of Aden was declared by Saudi-backed officials as the “interim” capital of Yemen, but they’ve lost control of it in fighting over the last several days, leaving the city under the control of southern separatists.

Aden is much more important to the separatists not because of its status as seat of the would-be government, but as the long-time capital of the former country of South Yemen, which they intend to re-create.

This began last week with protesters loyal to the separatists seizing the presidential palace. Over the weekend, after clashes at the palace, separatist forces moved against military camps across the city. The government cried coup, but either way they lost the city.

This likely spells the end of the alliance of the two largest factions in pro-Saudi Yemen, with the separatists having previously giving tacit support to the invasion to reclaim the country from the northerners. But the separatists always made clear that in the end they wanted their own country, and may have just come a step closer to making that happen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of