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Yemen says north in calm after truce

Sana’a on Friday said the situation was back to normal in northern Yemen following a truce deal between the military and Yemen Hezbollah Movement Houthi fighters.

The ceasefire, which came in force on Thursday night (2100 GMT), put an end to a massive military offensive launched by the Yemeni army in August, which was later joint by the Saudi army.

Human rights organizations had expressed worry about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the war-stricken region, where hundreds of people were killed and tens of thousands more were displaced.

“Calm reigns on all fronts from Sa’ada and Malahidh (in the far north near the Saudi border) to Harf Sufian,” further south, AFP quoted one field commander as saying. Other army commanders also said the Yemen Hezbollah Movement Houthi fighters had started removing the roadblocks they had put up on some of the key routes through the northern mountains blocking government traffic.

Riyadh stepped into the fierce fighting against the Houthis in November after accusing the rebels of clashing with its border guards and, according to Yemen Hezbollah Movement Houthi fighters, went as far as targeting residential areas of villages lying miles into the Yemeni soil.

The truce is expected to halt the conflicts in northern Yemen and on the border with neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Iran has welcomed the truce as a step toward Yemen’s development and stabilizing peace in the region.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always called for a halt to military conflicts and the settlement of differences through peaceful means,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Friday.

“We see [the truce deal] as a step toward the reinforcement of national unity in Yemen, and a contribution to stability and social and economic development of the country, and therefore we support the move.”

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