ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Yemenis gathered Thursday in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden to show their support for the anti-terror role played by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the war-torn country.
The rally's organizer, the pro-secession Southern Transitional Council (STC), said in a statement that the rally aimed at "expressing gratitude for the UAE armed forces that firmly stand with the southern forces in confronting terror groups such as the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch and the Islamic State (IS) group."
The event came days after "Yemeni Islamic political parties used their media outlets and launched a misinformation campaign against the UAE forces" operating in the war-ravaged Arab country, the STC said.
Newly-recruited military units of the STC launched several anti-terror campaigns against bastions of al-Qaida and IS in southern Yemen in cooperation with the UAE, which is a key partner of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting Houthis in Yemen.
Last year, the UAE-backed southern forces succeeded in expelling al-Qaida militants from key areas in the southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.
However, local military sources said that scores of terrorist elements resumed their activities and rearranged their ranks in those mountainous areas after alienating UAE-backed southern military units and creating a security vacuum during the past weeks.
Large pro-UAE rallies were also organized by the STC in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout.
A source of the STC branch in Hadramout told Xinhua by phone that "we went out to the streets to express our rejection and strong disapproval of the misinformation campaign aimed at tarnishing the image of the UAE that is striking terrorism in Yemen."
"In 2016 with the UAE's support, our southern forces managed to retake the coastal city of Mukalla and other areas from the al-Qaida's firm grip and we will not forget that favor forever," said the source anonymously.
Heavy security forces belonging to the STC were deployed in Aden's main entrances and set up several checkpoints to secure the city from potential terror attacks.
The al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and IS have increased their armed attacks in Aden recently, taking advantage of the fighting raging between the STC's forces and Yemen's government in the country's southern part.
Last week, the Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for a suicide motorcycle bombing that targeted a security checkpoint in Aden, leaving five soldiers killed.
After the UAE-backed STC took control of Aden last month, the Yemeni government has strongly condemned the UAE, its nominal ally within the Saudi-led coalition, and launched a large-scale military operation to retake the strategic southern city but failed.
Aden and neighboring southern provinces of Abyan, Lahj and Dhalea are entirely under the control of the STC forces.
In Saudi Arabia's city of Jeddah reconciliation talks are continuing between Yemen's government and the STC regarding the situation in the country's south particularly Aden.
Considered as Yemen's temporary capital, Aden is where the Saudi-backed Yemeni government has based itself since 2015.
The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern provinces including the capital Sanaa.
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