Turkey 'concerned' about clashes in Yemen's Aden

He said the STC forces rapidly advanced in the street fighting and imposed a tight besiege around the Presidential Palace in Aden's district Crater, where the government officials reside.

But the ministers returned to Aden before dawn, after receiving guarantees from the coalition that the presidential palace would not be stormed, a government source said.

Locals reportedly said that gunmen opened fire after a suspect rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the checkpoint, located northeast of Ataq, the capital of the Yemeni province of Shabwa.

According to Yemen's official SABA news agency, President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi convened an emergency meeting to discuss what he described as "an illegitimate coup attempt by the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC)".

Saudi Arabia and UAE are the main partners in the Arab coalition that has been waging war on the Iran-backed Houthi rebels which took over the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September 2014.

The situation was made more complex by divisions within the Saudi-led coalition.

The government has accused the separatists of attempting a coup in Aden, where more than 36 people have been killed in clashes that opened yet another front in the country's devastating conflict.

On Tuesday, the forces loyal to the STC declared victory and deployed around the government institutions and universities in Aden, raising flags of former South Yemen state.

Smoke billows from a hilltop during clashes between fighters from Yemen's southern separatist movement and forces loyal to the Saudi-backed president in the country's second city of Aden on January 28, 2018.

A Houthi assault on the city that year prompted a Saudi-led multinational coalition to launch a military campaign to defeat the rebels.

The infighting is a blow to western governments including Britain that have been expending enormous diplomatic energy to try to bring Yemen's civil war to a close.

Brigadier Saleh al-Sayyed, who heads troops that have fought alongside the separatists since Sunday, announced his forces had seized control of the Fourth Brigade, the presidential guard in Aden.

Britain played a role in securing the removal of the United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, after he appeared to have lost the confidence of the Houthis.

  • Rogelio Becker