Yemen fighting dies down in Hodeidah as ceasefire starts World news


Yemen fighting dies down in Hodeidah as ceasefire starts World news Vital port city was calm on Tuesday morning but residents warn hostilities are usually worst at night Vital port city was calm on Tuesday morning but residents warn hostilities are usually worst at night Yemen’s flashpoint port city of Hodeidah was calm on Tuesday morning following heavy clashes that erupted after the UN-brokered ceasefire started at midnight, pro-government sources and residents said. “There has been complete calm since 3am Yemen time (midnight GMT) in the city of Hodeidah,” a military source loyal to the government told AFP on Tuesday. A ceasefire agreement struck at UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden came into effect at midnight on Monday but heavy clashes and air raids continued after the deadline, according to pro-government sources and residents. People in the city confirmed by phone that there had been no fighting between government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition and Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since 3am. It was not clear if it had stopped due to the ceasefire or was just a temporary pause in hostilities. Residents said the fighting was usually worst in the evenings and at night, before coming to a standstill at dawn. The two warring sides have, however, welcomed the truce for the strategic Red Sea province. Both the defence ministry of the internationally-recognised government and that of the Houthi rebels said they would comply with the ceasefire. Hodeidah’s port is the gateway for the bulk of humanitarian aid coming into Yemen. The UN said on Monday that the deal was to be implemented at midnight, even though the agreement reached in Sweden last week included an “immediate ceasefire” in Hodeidah and its surroundings. A UN official, who requested anonymity, said the delay in the ceasefire was necessary for “operational reasons”. The UN-backed Yemeni government lost control of Hodeidah and the capital Sana’a to Houthi rebels in 2015. Despite heavy military support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the government, which is based in Aden, has been unable to take back either city. Western backing for the Saudi-led war has frayed in the face of mass casualties, starvation and, more recently, allegations that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was instrumental in organising the killing of the Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

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