SANAA (Dispatches) – The warring sides in Yemen have agreed to take measures towards invigorating a standing ceasefire over al-Hudaydah, a key western port taking in the majority of the violence-wracked country’s imports.
"They agreed on a mechanism and new measures to reinforce the ceasefire and de-escalation, to be put in place as soon as possible," the United Nations said in a statement on Monday, according to Reuters.
Yemen’s former government resigned in 2015 amid a political stalemate and its head Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close friend of Saudi Arabia, fled to the kingdom’s capital Riyadh.
Soon afterwards, the kingdom and its allies launched an invasion of the impoverished country to restore power to the former officials. The invasion has lasted ever since, killing tens of thousands and forcing entire Yemen close to the brink of countrywide famine.
The United Nations brokered the truce in Stockholm in December 2018 between members of the former government and Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been defending the nation against the invaders.
The agreement came as a blockade of al-Hudaydah by the Saudi-led coalition was threatening to worsen the situation in Yemen -- already judged as the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Under the deal, the two sides agreed to withdraw their forces from Hudaydah's main port and two other nearby ports. Ansarullah’s fighters unilaterally pulled out of the ports last month to facilitate implementation of the accord.
Meanwhile, Yemeni armed forces launched fresh drone strikes on King Khalid air base in Saudi Arabia's southwestern Asir Province in retaliation for the kingdom’s bloody military aggression against the impoverished country.
The al-Masirah TV channel reported that Yemeni army soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Committees had used Qasif-K2 combat drones to target the air base near the city of Khamis Mushait.
It quoted Yemen’s armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sare'e as saying that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) had "accurately targeted" a weapons storage site at the air base and caused a large fire there
He noted that the operation came in response to the crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition against the Yemeni nation, adding that the alliance had carried out 20 airstrikes on Yemen in the past 24 hours.
"Drones and missile operations will continue, and will expand ... in a manner that is not expected by the Saudi regime as long as [it] continues its aggression, siege and contempt," Sare'e said.
File photo shows a general view of the al-Hudaydah port in western Yemen.