Rival sides in Yemen’s year-long conflict began a tentative truce overnight on Sunday, saying they were committed to the halt in hostilities despite pockets of deadly fighting in the hours leading up to it.
The conflict between the Yemeni army and the rival Houthi rebels has killed more than 6,200 people and triggered a humanitarian crisis in one of the Arab world’s poorest countries.
A halt in fighting from Sunday midnight (2100 GMT) precedes peace talks set to begin on April 18 in Kuwait. This will be the fourth ceasefire since March 26th last year, when the Arab coalition began air strikes to support the government of Hadi, who fled an advance by Shia Houthis and their allies, elite troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
A spokesman for a Saudi-led military coalition, which has been carrying out air strikes over the past year, urged the Iran-allied Houthis to respect the halt in violence which he said the Yemeni government and alliance would adhere to.
“But if there is any violation of this ceasefire, we will have the right to retaliate, to assess the situation at that time and take whatever steps are necessary to stop these violations,” Brigadier-General Ahmed al-Asiri told Reuters news agency by telephone.
A spokesman for the Houthis and their allies said they were also committed to the truce but also retained the right to respond if it was broken by the other side.
The UN hopes the cessation of hostilities will lead to a more concrete, formal ceasefire.
In the capital which has been controlled for the last 18 months by the Houthis, residents said they desperately wanted this attempt at peace to succeed, after two rounds of talks failed last year.
“I am tired of the fighting, the destruction, everything,” Hussein Ali, a 57-year-old government employee, told Reuters news agency.
“The situation is very difficult for people without work, without electricity, without water, and with the fear that, at any moment, bombardment could kill those dear to us.”
- Pray peace in Yemen and for this cessation of hostility to hold and to lead to a full ceasefire agreement by both sides.
- Pray for food, water and medical aid to reach those who most need it, and for a relieving of the humanitarian crisis that is affecting 80% of Yemen’s population.
- Pray for a return of hope to Yemen, for hope for the future, healing for Yemen people, and resources to rebuild this war-torn nation.
- Pray for Christians in Yemen, to be able to share their faith and hope with the people around them without fear, and for many in this needy land to come to know the healing grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Zechariah 9 vs 10: “… the battle-bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”