After two years of war, Yemen saw a brief respite from the fighting over the weekend. A two-day ceasefire between the two sides could have been a promising beginning for the war-torn region. But it looks like the ceasefire will not be renewed. Each side has been blaming the other one for violations of the truce. The proposed ceasefire ended at midday this Monday. A spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition told a local network that they will not renew the ceasefire. The Saudi coalition had announced it unilaterally this Friday.
Fighting in Yemen Does Not End
The 48-hour truce did not successfully put an end to all fighting across Yemen. The Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led forces continued to engage one another throughout the weekend.
The conflict in Yemen is almost two years old and stems from a fight between Houthi rebels and the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In March of 2015, the Houthis advanced on the temporary headquarters of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. At the time, they had the support of government troops that were still loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia. In response, a coalition of Gulf Arab states launched a military offensive supporting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government. The most important country in the coalition is Saudi Arabia, offering support to the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is now in exile. On the other side of the conflict, the Houthi rebels are receiving support from Iran.
The situation in Yemen has been going on for 20 months now. So far, 10,000 people have died in the conflict. Three million people have been displaced and are living in incredibly difficult conditions. Even before the beginning of the conflict, Yemen was one of the poorest countries in the region. The crisis has worsened the living conditions for the people of Yemen.
Violations of the Ceasefire
Over the weekend, the ceasefire did not hold. Residents from Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa say that they saw jets of the Saudi-led coalition carrying out bombing attacks. The coalition jets have allegedly bombed army bases located on a mountain close to the city. Residents of Sanaa say that they felt the force of the attacks in several neighborhoods of the city.
The rebel Houthis have control over the city of Sanaa. They also control large areas of Yemen. The Saudi-led forces have gained ground in Yemen and have taken over territory from the rebels, especially in the north of Yemen. But they have not been successful in their attempt to restore Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.
Speaking about any future ceasefire, an official of the Saudi-led coalition said that international observers would be necessary. The ceasefire would stand a better chance if neutral observers were on the ground to help monitor the situation.
“To help apply a future ceasefire, observers on the ground who can certify any truce is what the coalition is looking for, provided the legitimate Yemeni government agrees,”
said the Saudi-led coalition official.
Image source: UN