Yemen conflict
Houthi fighters ride on the back of a patrol truck in Yemen's capital SanaaReuters file photo

Saudi-backed Sunni militias have reportedly sought help from the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to uproot the Shiite Houthi rebels from their strongholds in Yemen further complicating the situation in the strife-torn country.

AQAP, one of the most active arms of al-Qaeda and widely considered to be the most dangerous, is a Sunni extremist group based out of Yemen and the latest development will put the notorious group on the same side as the US coalition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited local residents and Western diplomats, the anti-Houthi forces are turning to the Yemen-based insurgent group out of desperation to reinstall the exiled government.

Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse which is spearheading the operation against Shiite Houthis in Yemen, has not commented on the development.

"Operation Golden Arrow" was launched recently by the anti-Houthi forces to retake full control of the strategic port city of Aden. Several forces ranging from local militias to Saudi-trained Yemeni soldiers are taking part in the campaign.

Meanwhile, the forces fighting against the Yemeni Houthis have said they are determined to wipe out the rebels from the remaining strongholds in Aden.

Brigadier Fadhel Ba'ech, a field commander of the militia, said in a statement on the Houthi-controlled website: "We will purge the remaining pockets of Houthi militia and [pro ex-president Ali Abdulla] Saleh forces in the coming hours, so the 'Eid' in Aden will be happiest."

The renewed offensive has come when exiled officials of the internationally-recognised government are returning to Aden from Saudi Arabia for the first time ever since the conflict broke out.

Signalling a return of the entire government, senior ministers and top intelligence officials landed in Aden by helicopter with the help of Saudi airstrikes.

"[Exiled president] Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi delegated this group to return to Aden to work to prepare the security situation and ensure stability ahead of a revival of the institutions of state in Aden," a source told Reuters.

The group is believed to include former and exiled interior ministers, the transport minister, the deputy speaker of parliament and the intelligence chief.