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Yemen’s warring parties agreed Thursday to renew a nationwide ceasefire for another two months, a move that raises hope for a potential peace in a country plagued by eight years of civil war, the Associated Press reported.
The United Nations confirmed that Yemen’s internationally-recognized government and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels approved the renewal a few hours before the original truce was set to expire.
The ceasefire between the two factions – which was brokered by the UN – came into effect in April and was considered the first nationwide truce in six years. Under the ceasefire agreement, the parties have agreed to a number of provisions, including the establishment of two commercial flights each week from the capital, Sanaa, to Jordan and Egypt, as well as the entry of 18 tankers of gas into the port of Hodeida.
Meanwhile, even as the fighting has died down, both parties have occasionally accused each other of violating the ceasefire.
Human rights groups welcomed the extension as a sign of a “serious commitment” to end the conflict. They added that the ceasefire could lead to the reopening of roads to allow humanitarian aid to reach Yemenis and allow the displaced to return home.
Fighting broke out in Yemen in 2014 when Houthi rebels took over Saana and forced the internationally-recognized government to flee to Saudi Arabia. A year later, a Saudi-led coalition launched attacks against the Iran-backed group to restore the government to power.
However, the conflict has devolved into a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which has resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Currently, more than 377,000 people have died in the conflict, according to UN estimates.