ADEN, Yemen — Northern Yemeni forces Thursday gained total control of their southern foe's last bastion, Aden, crushing a bid to recreate an independent state. But fleeing southern leaders vowed to continue the war.
Fighting ended at daybreak for the 500,000 people of Aden. By afternoon, they were lining the streets flashing V-for-victory signs at northern troops.
In Sana, the northern-based government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced the end of two months of war and of its military campaign to crush southern secession from a union established four years ago.
A government spokesman quoted by Sana television said northern forces had control of Aden and areas of the eastern Hadramawt region.
The southern breakaway state, declared May 21, says it still controls areas of Hadramawt and Shabwa provinces.
Southern Deputy Prime Minister Mohsen Farid told Reuters news service by telephone that southern leaders left Aden to spare it destruction.
"The war is not over. We will regroup and continue the struggle by all possible means and ways," Farid said in a call from Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where he has been staying.
More than 400,000 residents and refugees had been trapped for weeks in Aden under constant tank and howitzer bombardment and were suffering severe shortages of food, water and medicine.
The war began May 4 after politicians failed to resolve disputes over apportioning power in the 4-year-old union of North Yemen, a conservative, Islamic state, and South Yemen, which had a Marxist regime.