Houthi forces began their withdrawal from the port of Al-Hudaydah on Saturday, December 29, per the recently signed UN-sponsored ceasefire agreement with the Saudi-backed government, according to a UN representative. The fighters handed over control to local coast guard forces monitored by a UN team. A detailed report of full redeployment plans is expected on January 1, 2019. There are no reports of Saudi-led coalition movements in Al-Hudaydah city as of Saturday evening (local time). In addition, the UN announced on Friday, December 28, that both Houthis and pro-government coalition troops began to open humanitarian corridors to Sana'a. The developments are in line with a December 13 ceasefire agreement and suggest further de-escalation in certain areas, namely around Al-Hudaydah and Ta'iz. However, setbacks and further clashes between the two sides cannot be ruled out.
On December 13, delegations from the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government agreed to cease fire and demobilize around the port and city of Al-Hudaydah, establish humanitarian corridors for aid shipments to Ta'iz, exchange 15,000 prisoners, and hold a new round of negotiations in January.
Yemen is engaged in a complex and deadly conflict, ongoing since Houthi rebels entered into a civil war with the Yemeni government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition has carried out thousands of airstrikes in Yemen since its intervention began. Hundreds of Yemeni civilians have been killed in the strikes, which have hit schools, hospitals, and markets, in addition to Houthi militant positions and personnel. In total, more than 10,000 Yemenis have died in the fighting and some 3 million have been displaced.
Due to poor security conditions, many Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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