Yemen’s Houthis Begin Withdrawal From Hodeidah Port

Pullback begins as part of ceasefire agreement

Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement has begun its withdrawal from the vital aid port of Hodeidah over the weekend. UN officials have confirmed that these pullbacks began after the arrival of a UN monitor team.

These are the first confirmed withdrawals from Hodeidah and the surrounding area by either faction. Under a ceasefire deal negotiated at the Sweden peace talks, the two sides both committed to withdraw from the area.

Though the deal was expected to see pullbacks immediately, both sides showed little sign of movement, and issued a flurry of accusations of ceasefire violations against one another. Those accusations have continued, though fighting has dropped dramatically in Hodeidah Province since the ceasefire came into effect.

The arrival of UN monitors will likely add some confidence on both sides that this won’t be one of those abortive ceasefires where one side stands down and the other side launches a quick, decisive offensive in response.

 The hope is that this demilitarization of Hodeidah will allow the port to remain open to food and other humanitarian aid shipments, preventing the massive famine that was feared when Saudi forces looked like they were going to occupy the area outright.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.