Clashes erupt in Ye­men’s Hodeida de­spite truce

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Clashes erupted be­tween Houthi fighter and forces loyal to the for­mer govern­ment in Ye­men’s flash­point port city of Hodeida on Saturday, dealing a new blow to a frag­ile truce.

Ar­tillery and ma­chine-gun ex­changes rocked the south­ern part of Hodeida in early morn­ing be­fore ta­per­ing off later in day, AFP re­ported.

The Houthi-held port city, which is a life­line for the de­liv­ery of des­per­ately needed hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, was for months the main front line in the Ye­meni con­flict after for­mer govern­ment forces sup­ported by Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies launched an of­fen­sive to cap­ture it in June.

But last month the war­ring par­ties agreed a cease-fire for Hodeida dur­ing Un-spon­sored talks in Swe­den.

The United Na­tions has said the truce has largely held since it came into force on De­cem­ber 18 but there have been de­lays in the agreed pull­back of Houthis and for­mer govern­ment forces.

The Houthis con­trol most of Hodeida while for­mer govern­ment forces are de­ployed on its south­ern and eastern out­skirts.

Since the Saudi-led mil­i­tary coali­tion in­vaded Ye­men in sup­port of the for­mer govern­ment in March 2015, the con­flict has killed tens of thou­sands and un­leashed the world’s worst hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

UN aid of­fi­cials say 80 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion – 24 mil­lion peo­ple – are in need of aid and nearly 10 mil­lion are just one step away from famine.

UN aid co­or­di­na­tor Lise Grande vis­ited Hodeida on Fri­day and met lo­cal of­fi­cials, the head of Ye­men’s Na­tional Au­thor­ity for the Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Af­fairs, Jaber al­razahi, said.

“The rea­son for the visit of UN hu­man­i­tar­ian co­or­di­na­tor Lisa Grande to Hodeida is to see the hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion... and en­sure the ar­rival of aid through the port,” Razahi said.

REUTERS

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