Local military authorities told Arab News on Saturday that fighting has virtually ceased in Yemen’s critical battlefields as warring factions adhere to a UN-brokered humanitarian cease-fire.
The UN’s Yemen envoy Hans Grundberg announced on Friday that the Iran-backed Houthis and the internationally recognized government had reached an agreement on a two-month cease-fire that would begin on Saturday, Ramadan’s first day.

Ground, air, and cross-border strikes will be halted, oil tankers will be allowed to enter Hodeidah seaport, planes will be able to depart and arrive at Sanaa airport, and the siege of Taiz would be lifted.

Despite reports that the Houthis are still amassing forces in Marib, local officials say combat and shelling between government troops and the Houthis has largely stopped in the central province of Marib and outside the city of Taiz.

“The fighting in Marib has ceased. “There is a small exchange of mortar and heavy gun fire, and the enemy is deploying forces,” an unnamed military officer told Arab News, adding that army troops and allied tribesmen were bracing for Houthi violations of the cease-fire.

Since early last year, when the Houthis started a massive push to capture control of the energy-rich city of Marib, the Yemeni government’s final bastion in the northern part of the country, tens of thousands of fighters and civilians have been slain in the province of Marib.

Despite launching a barrage of missile, drone, and ground attacks on the city, the Houthis were unable to seize control of it, resulting in thousands of deaths.

Yemeni experts believe the Houthis were compelled to accept the current UN-brokered ceasefire after failing to invade Marib. The Houthis have long rejected similar pleas for a ceasefire.

Key battlefields in Taiz remained silent on Saturday after the Houthis and army troops agreed to a cease-fire for the first time in years, but civilians demanded that the Iran-backed militia break its stranglehold on the city quickly.

Military officer Col. Abdul Basit Al-Baher told Arab News by phone that government forces adhered to the cease-fire while the Houthis ceased shelling and attacks on the highly populated city. “Everything is rather peaceful here in Taiz,” Al-Baher stated.

After failing to capture control of the city’s downtown, the Houthis have besieged Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, for more than seven years.

They stationed forces on the city’s boundaries, preventing anyone from leaving or entering the city, and shooting down anybody who approached their posts.

The siege, according to Al-Baher, should be lifted in tandem with the cease-fire since it has suffocated the city and forced thousands of people to the edge of starvation. “If the siege of Taiz is not lifted, the truce is useless.” “Seige is a type of warfare,” he explained.

“The Houthis used massive rocks and sandbags to obstruct Taiz’s highways and planted a considerable quantity of landmines.” He claimed they were after all living things, including cats and dogs.

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