Ceasefire to allow aid in
The Saudi-led coalition yesterday declared a 48-hour ceasefire in Yemen, on the condition that the Houthi rebels abide by it and allow humanitarian assistance into besieged cities, particularly the city of Taiz.
However, minutes after it went into effect, activists in Taiz said that rebel shelling continued in the city while a Houthi-affiliated military spokesman said that there was no halt of fighting.
Col. Sharaf Loqman, a military spokesman, told The Associated Press that the fighting hasn’t stopped at any of the front-lines. He said that the rebels support a full cessation of hostilities, but that the reality at the moment is, “all parties are engaged in fighting”.
The Saudi news agency SPA carried a statement from the coalition that said the truce would take effect at 12pm Yemeni time yesterday and that it could be renewed. The coalition warned the rebels, known as Houthis, against any sort of military movement.
The ceasefire comes at a time that forces loyal to the Saudi-backed, internationally recognised government have made advances in Taiz, which has been besieged by the rebels for the past year.
The coalition has demanded that the Houthis send their representatives to meet with a de-escalation committee in a southern Saudi city, in order to make security and military arrangements to end rebel control over several cities in the north – including Sanaa.
The truce comes two days after an earlier plan for a US-brokered ceasefire faltered. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with Houthi representatives in Oman this week, set November 17 as the ceasefire date.