Sporadic fighting strains fragile Yemen truce

Scattered clashes between Yemen's warring sides on Thursday (October 20th) undermined a fragile ceasefire in Yemen which took effect shortly before midnight Wednesday, AFP reported.

The ceasefire, set for an initial period of three days, aims to allow sorely needed aid to reach suffering civilians.

Shortly after the truce began, the coalition said it "will abide by the ceasefire", but would continue an air and maritime embargo, to prevent weapons shipments to the Houthis (Ansarallah), and maintain airborne reconnaissance.

The Houthis military spokesman, Gen. Sharaf Lokman, said his forces will respect the ceasefire as long as the other side also abides by it on land, sea and air.

However, he urged his fighters to be ready to retaliate against "all aggression".

A spokesman for pro-government forces also declared "respect for the truce" but similarly reserved the right of reply to violations.

Pro-government forces said in a statement they recorded nine violations by the Houthis between midnight and 4 a.m. in Nahm region, north-east of Sanaa.

Military sources and residents said there also had been fighting around Taez, and pro-government positions came under fire in Sarwah, east of Sanaa.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini late Wednesday said the truce should be a first step towards resuming UN-led peace talks.

"The ceasefire must be respected by all sides and its duration extended so as to create the necessary conditions for such negotiations," she said.

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