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Yemen's govt, Houthi rebels agree on mutual pullback of forces from Hodeidah

Yemen's govt, Houthi rebels agree on mutual pullback of forces from Hodeidah

Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels have agreed on the first phase of a withdrawal from the key city of Hodeidah, in a deal the United Nations described as important progress.

Yemen backed by Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels backed by Iran is at war since last 4 years. Yemen is facing a manmade famine condition and UN is trying to broker a peace deal to continue its humanitarian activities.

Understanding the Yemen War 

The conflict has its roots in the Arab Spring of 2011, when an uprising forced the country's long-time authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

But President Hadi struggled to deal with various problems including militant attacks, corruption, food insecurity, and continuing loyalty of many military officers to Saleh.

In 2014, Houthi Shia Muslim rebels took control of northern Saada province and they moved further to take the Yemen’s capital of Sanaa. President Hadi flew away to Saudi Arabia.

The conflict escalated dramatically in March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states - backed by the US, UK, and France - began air strikes against the Houthis, with the declared aim of restoring Mr Hadi's government.

Why Saudi Arabia backed Hadi?

Saudi Arabia feared that Yemen if won by Houthi rebels (supported by Iran) the Sunni country of Saudi Arabia will be in threat.

The stalemate has produced an unrelenting humanitarian crisis, with at least 8.4 million people at risk of starvation and 22.2 million people - 75% of the population - in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

Severe acute malnutrition is threatening the lives of almost 400,000 children under the age of five.

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