SOLYMONE BLOG

PRESIDENT FLEES AS YEMEN COLLAPSES

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi(photo) fled the country by sea Wednesday on a boat from Aden, as Shiite rebels and their allies advanced on the southern port city where he had taken refuge, captured his defense minister and seized the city's airport. 
Hadi's departure marks a dramatic turn in Yemen's turmoil and means a decisive collapse of what was left of his rule, which the United States and Gulf allies had hoped could stabilize the chronically chaotic nation and fight al-Qaida's branch here after the 2011 ouster of longtime autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh. 
Over the past year, the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who are believed to be supported by Iran, have battled their way out of their northern strongholds, overwhelmed the capital, Sanaa, seized province after province in the north and worked their way south. 
Their advance has been boosted by units of the military and security forces that remained loyal to Saleh, who allied with the rebels. 
With Hadi gone, there remains resistance to the Houthis scattered around the country, whether from Sunni tribesmen, local militias, pro-Hadi military units or al-Qaida fighters.
Hadi and his aides left Aden after 3:30 p.m. on two boats, security and port officials told The Associated Press. 
The officials would not specify his destination. 

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