Yemeni troops deploy tanks and armoured vehicles in the port city of Aden against heavily armed forces loyal to former President. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Supporters of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi seized Aden's international airport on Thursday (March 19), after battles with rival forces that left at least six people dead, a local official and medics said. Hadi's troops deployed tanks and armoured vehicles in this southern port city against heavily armed special forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, an ally of the Houthi movement that controls northern Yemen. The rise to power of the Iran-backed Houthis since September last year has deepened divisions in Yemen's complex web of political and religious allegiances, split the army and left the country increasingly cut off from the outside world. The fighting around a special forces base in the Khor Maksar district of Aden spread to residential districts and prompted roads to the nearby airport to be closed. Airport authorities cancelled at least one flight after shooting started early in the morning, where members of the so-called Popular Committees, a local militia loyal to Hadi, were in a stand-off with the special forces loyal to Saleh. A local official said the militiamen, backed by regular troops deployed from a nearby army camp that had sided with Hadi, secured control of the airport by midday. A local security official and medics said four special forces soldiers and two militiamen died in the clashes. There were a number of injuries, but no exact figures were immediately available. Residents in Crater and al-Ma'asheeq district, which are considered the heart of Aden's commercial area, said Popular Committee fighters had been seen taking up positions, but there were no reports of fighting there.