UN officials confirmed on Saturday, May 11, that Houthi rebel fighters had started to withdraw from ports along the Red Sea coast, including Hudaydah. The withdrawal is part of a ceasefire agreement with government-aligned coalition that was signed in December 2018. The rebel fighters have reportedly started to move out of Hudaydah, Salif, and Ras Issa. Further violence is expected to continue in the coming weeks and months despite the recent developments, though the vacating of the ports may allow for implementation of other aspects of the ceasefire agreement in the near term.
Houthi and pro-government forces agreed to a ceasefire on December 18, 2018, that included the removal of Houthi forces from Hudaydah port and handing over operational control to the UN, humanitarian corridors to interior cities, and a prisoner exchange.
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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