Yemeni security officials say local forces backed by the United Arab Emirates are expanding their reach in the country's south, where they have clashed with forces loyal to the internationally recognized president.

The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Shiite rebels on behalf of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, but has been at odds with Hadi for months.

The security officials said Monday that hundreds of Security Belt forces — fighters trained and financed by the UAE, have deployed in the Dhale province. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The UAE and Hadi maintain separate security forces based in the southern city of Aden, which have clashed in recent months.