Turkey strongly condemns Al Qaida assault on soldiers in Yemen
On Tuesday, military officials said the death toll among army troops has risen to 185 after Al-Qaida militants attacked a military base in southern Yemen on Sunday. Another 55 soldiers were captured and paraded through a nearby town by the militants. The figure for al-Qaida fighters killed in the fighting remained unchanged at 32.
A statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said Turkey hopes the attack will not affect what it said "successful democratic transformation process" in Yemen. It added that the political transition will be completed regardless of similar attacks.
The scale of the army's defeat in the Sunday battle, which appears to be the worst-ever suffered by Yemen's military in its 10-month campaign against al-Qaida in the southern province of Abyan, deals a major blow to efforts by newly-inaugurated Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has vowed to crush the terror network and purge military commanders still loyal to his predecessor, to uproot the militant movement from the region.
Hadi took power last month from longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh as part of power-transfer deal backed by the United States and initiated by Arab Gulf countries.
The yearlong uprising against Saleh had caused a deterioration of central state authority throughout the country, and allowed al-Qaida to seize Zinjibar in May and fight off repeated army offensives to retake it. They captured the nearby town of Jaar last April.
Turkey said Turkey will continue standing by Yemeni people to successfully realize the transition process and will continue to lend any kind of support.