MIDDLE EAST

Houthi rebels withdraw from Yemen ports

Reuters Photo

Yemen's Houthi rebels have withdrawn from three of the country's Red Sea ports, a spokesman for the joint pro-government forces said late Tuesday.

Waddah Dubaish told Anadolu Agency that this included the strategic Al-Hudaydah Port.

The process began on May 11 under the UN's watch.

Dubaish said Michael Lollesgaard, head of the UN's Redeployment Coordination Committee, has sent a statement to the Yemeni government in which the Houthi rebels were confirmed to have withdrawn from the ports of Al-Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Isa.

Al-Hudaydah Port is of crucial importance for Yemen as 90% of food products and 80% of humanitarian aid enter the country through it.

Stockholm Agreement

During negotiations held Dec. 6-13 last year in Stockholm, Sweden, Yemen's warring parties hammered out agreements regarding Taiz province, ports, a ceasefire in Al-Hudaydah and a prisoner exchange.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Since then, tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict while another 14 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

According to UN figures, Yemen is facing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with more than 10 million people driven to the brink of famine. More than 22 million people in Yemen are desperate for humanitarian aid and protection.

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