(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The exiled Yemeni government has issued an order for militiamen fighting alongside loyalist troops against Shia rebels be merged into the armed forces, as clashes raged yesterday in the south.
The Supreme Defence Council met in Riyadh and decided to "assimilate members of the Popular Resistance into the units of the armed forces and security forces," the government-run news agency said.
The meeting, headed by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, took the decision to reward them for their "brave contribution to defending the homeland."
Popular Resistance units were formed when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and allies advanced on southern regions after they had overran the capital Sana'a in September. In the south, pro-government forces expanded their area of control after recapturing the port of Aden, Yemen's second city, after four months of fighting.
The loyalists pushed back rebels in Lahoum, on Aden's northern outskirts, following heavy fighting in which 12 rebels were killed, military sources said, adding three pro-Hadi fighters were killed and dozens wounded.
The area lies on the road to Lahj, where loyalists have been tightening the noose on rebels to recapture the strategic Al Anad air base.
Clashes further evidenced the failure to take hold of a five-day truce declared from Sunday midnight by the Saudi-led, pro-government Arab coalition to allow the delivery of relief supplies.