Saudi-led coalition denies Aden ground operation

In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Royal Saudi Land Forces and units of Special Forces of the Pakistani army take part in a joint military exercise.

In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Royal Saudi Land Forces and units of Special Forces of the Pakistani army take part in a joint military exercise.

The Saudi-led coalition has not started any major ground operation in the Yemeni port of Aden, coalition spokesman Ahmed al-Asiri said on Sunday, denying previous reports from Yemeni sources that ground troops had arrived and had began to fight.

“There are no foreign forces in Aden but coalition continues to help fight against the Houthi militia,” Asiri said in a statement.

It was earlier reported that a “limited coalition force entered Aden and another force is on its way” to the southern port city, a Yemeni official who requested anonymity, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Aden al-Ghad newspaper had reported that “the first push of the Arab ground force arrived on Sunday morning in Aden and began to take part in battle,” citing its reporters. The newspaper is linked to southern separatists demanding the restoration of the southern state that merged with North Yemen in 1990.

Aden has been the center of an offensive between forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government of Hadi battling the Houthis.

The Saudi-led coalition has been conducting an air war against the Houthi rebels and their allies since March 26 but the earlier reports were the first news of a ground deployment inside the country.