Saudi Arabia has deployed troops to Yemen’s Socotra amid anger over the UAE’s military build-up on the island as rivalry grows between the two allies.
Turki al-Malki, spokesman for the Saudi operations in Yemen, said on Sunday that Saudi forces had landed on Socotra on a mission to train and support loyalists to ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
He said that Saudis, Emiratis and Yemenis would carry out joint training exercises. This comes as these forces have squared up against each other in the past and clashed in Aden.
The Saudi deployment comes after the UAE sent some 300 soldiers, along with tanks and artillery, to Socotra earlier this month in a move that drew the ire of Yemenis.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been waging a deadly war on Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to shore up Hadi against the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The war has killed and injured over 600,000 civilians, according to the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights. The Saudi-led aggression has triggered what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.