The UN special envoy for Yemen said Sunday that the ceasefire between the Houthis and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition expired on Sunday without the two sides agreeing on an extension.
The truce was extended twice before, and while there was some fighting on the ground, no Saudi airstrikes in Yemen were reported, marking the longest period of calm in the war since the US-backed coalition intervened in 2015.
The UN envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said he submitted a proposal to extend the ceasefire to the warring sides on Saturday, but a deal wasn’t reached. “The UN Special Envoy regrets that an agreement has not been reached today, as an extended and expanded truce would provide additional critical benefits to the population,” the UN said in a press release.
The ceasefire also saw some flights resume from the Sanaa airport, and more fuel ships were allowed into the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. But the blockade wasn’t fully lifted, which has long been a condition for the Houthis to pursue further peace talks. For their part, the Saudi-led coalition wants the Houthis to open more roads around the city of Taiz.
The Houthis said on Saturday that the ceasefire talks had reached a “dead end” and said there hasn’t been “any serious willingness to address humanitarian issues as a top priority.”
The lack of a ceasefire raises fears of an escalation of the war and a worsening situation for the civilian population. According to Middle East Eye, humanitarian groups said the truce has led to a 60% reduction in casualties and quadrupled the amount of fuel being imported into Hodeidah.
The months preceding the ceasefire saw some of the heaviest Saudi airstrikes in Yemen since early in the war. January 2022 marked the highest civilian casualty rate in the Saudi air war since 2016.
War powers resolutions have been introduced in Congress to end US involvement in the war, which would effectively ground the Saudi air force since it relies on US maintenance. Resolutions have been introduced in both the House and the Senate and have over 100 bipartisan cosponsors. Call 1-833-Stop-War to tell your representative in Congress to support the legislation.
The UN estimates that the US-backed war on Yemen and the conditions it has caused have killed at least 377,000 people, more than half of which are children under the age of five.