With Ceasefire in Effect, Humanitarians Rush Aid to Yemen
After a particularly deadly day of fighting and airstrikes yesterday, a nominal ceasefire took effect in Yemen at 11 PM local time last night. Though clashes have been reported over the past several hours — including airstrikes against Houthi positions in Abyan and continued fighting between Houthis and local popular militias — the level of ...
After a particularly deadly day of fighting and airstrikes yesterday, a nominal ceasefire took effect in Yemen at 11 PM local time last night. Though clashes have been reported over the past several hours — including airstrikes against Houthi positions in Abyan and continued fighting between Houthis and local popular militias — the level of violence has been greatly reduced. Humanitarian agencies are now rushing to deliver aid while the relative peace holds: A Turkish aid ship landed has landed in Hodeida, and U.N. organizations plan on delivering 14,000 tons of food and 300 tons of blankets, sleeping mats, and utensils. Some have noted that the five-day ceasefire will not be long enough to deliver enough supplies to alleviate Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. Saudi officials have said the ceasefire could be extended, but there are no imminent prospects of a political breakthrough to end the conflict.
The tensions in the Gulf over the ceasefire are being complicated by Iran, which has dispatched a ship supposedly carrying humanitarian aid and flying a Red Crescent Society of Iran flag. Tehran has said it will send warships to escort the cargo to Yemen if necessary. The United States, which sent an aircraft carrier to the region to turn back a previous Iranian cargo ship bound for Yemen over concerns it was carrying military supplies to the Houthis, has told Iran that the ship should instead offload its cargo at the U.N. aid distribution hub in Djibouti.
Kerry Visits Russia, Discusses Syria and Iran
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi, Russia, yesterday. Though the eight-hour talks focused primarily on Ukraine, they also discussed the Middle East. Both sides agreed on the need to combat the Islamic State, which poses threats to both countries, but did not near a consensus on how the Syrian civil war should be resolved. Both sides also reiterated their support for the nuclear agreement being negotiated with Iran by the P5+1.
- An international investigative legal organization has prepared war crimes cases against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and 24 members of his government based on documents smuggled out of the country over the last three years.
- The Iraqi government claimed that the Islamic State’s destruction of ancient artifacts is actually a cover for systematic looting and black market trade in antiquities.
- A new report by a Palestinian human rights group found that respect for human rights by governments in the Palestinian territories is at a new low, with reports of torture and prison deaths in both the West Bank and Gaza.
- The Assad regime dropped barrel bombs on a busy bus terminal in Aleppo, killing 28 people.
- U.N.-backed peace talks on the reunification of Cyprus are set to begin on Friday after the recent election of new Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
-J. Dana Stuster
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