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Yemen: Hashid and Houthis agree ceasefire - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Abdul-Qader Hilal, center, mayor of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, stands with military officials and tribesmen during a mediation between Shi'ite Muslim rebels and Sunni tribesmen in the northern province of Amran, on February 4, 2014. (Reuters/Yemen's Defense Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

Abdul-Qader Hilal, center, mayor of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, stands with military officials and tribesmen during a mediation between Shi’ite Muslim rebels and Sunni tribesmen in the northern province of Amran on February 4, 2014. (Reuters/Yemen’s Defense Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—After weeks of fighting in northern Yemen, the Sunni Hashid tribal federation and the Shi’ite Houthi Movement signed a truce on Tuesday, according to tribal sources. The ceasefire was agreed as the security situation in the capital, Sana’a, continues to deteriorate, with at least three soldiers reported killed when a military bus was targeted.

Tribal sources affirmed the Hashid tribe had agreed a ceasefire with the Houthis, but added that the agreement had taken place away from the influence of the Al-Ahmar clan that has traditionally led the tribal federation. The tribal source portrayed the agreement as a “coup” against the Al-Ahmar family by other influential members of the tribe.

Yemen’s state SABA news agency reported that both parties had agreed to the government-negotiated truce, with the Houthis being granted safe right of movement in Hashid-dominated areas. The truce comes following escalating battles between the two sides in recent days, with local sources reporting that Houthi fighters had overrun a number of Hashid strongholds, including the historic seat of power of the Al-Ahmar clan in Omran province in the north of the country. At least 40 were reported killed on both sides of the fighting.

Chairman of the government-backed mediation committee, Maj. Gen. Fadl Al-Qawsiyan, was quoted as saying: “The mediation effort led to a ceasefire and opened the path to ending the fighting and achieving peace between the Houthis and the Hashid tribes.”

“The public roads [in the area] are now safe and secure, and the presidential committee will continue its work until the terms of the agreement have been implemented,” he added.

The agreement calls for both sides to leave the areas in northern Yemen that have been witnessing violence and return to their regions of origin, with the military set to be deployed in the area to secure public infrastructure. The agreement also stipulates that the state may take whatever action it deems necessary against any party that breaks the truce.

SABA reported that a military bus had been attacked in Sana’a’s Dar Silm area earlier on Tuesday, leaving at least one officer killed and 17 soldiers and civilians injured. But a Yemeni military source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that at least three Yemeni military personnel had been killed in the attack.