Yemen 'cessation of hostilities' begins, set to last for 72 hours


    The Struggles in Yemen


The Struggles in Yemen 02:26

Story highlights

  • A scheduled "cessation of hostilities" is in effect in Yemen for 72 hours
  • More than 10,000 Yemenis have died in the Middle East conflict

(CNN)A 72-hour "cessation of hostilities" between opposing forces in Yemen has begun.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, United Nations special envoy for Yemen, announced the break from fighting between a pro-Yemeni coalition led by Saudi forces and Houthi rebels before it started just before midnight Wednesday.
    According to Ahmed, terms of the agreement call for humanitarian workers to have "free and unhindered access" so they can bring supplies to all parts of Yemen.
    "[It] will spare the Yemeni people further bloodshed," Ahmed said.
    Humanitarian crisis worsening in Yemen's forgotten war
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      Humanitarian crisis worsening in Yemen's forgotten war


    Humanitarian crisis worsening in Yemen's forgotten war 02:51

    The 'forgotten war' pauses, for now

    In early 2015, Houthi rebels -- a minority Shia group from the north of the country -- drove out the US-backed government, led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and seized the capital, Sanaa. Approximately 10,000 Yemenis have died while millions are in need of aid in a conflict that has been dubbed the "forgotten war," given that it has occurred in the shadows of the Syrian conflict.
    Since then, the Saudi-led coalition, which includes several Arab countries, has launched a military campaign in Yemen against the Houthis, who have the support of Iran.
    In August, peace talks failed, prompting an increase in airstrikes over the past two months.
    This past weekend, US Secretary of State John Kerry called for all sides to "move to the negotiating table" after diplomatic talks in London.

    The pact could be renewed

    Ahmed said the terms of the 72-hour pause are similar to one that occurred last April.
    The United Nations, which has attempted to resolve the crisis, said the door was left open for the halt to be renewed for another 72 hours.