Yemen committees monitoring cease-fire agree to begin work

AP News
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Posted: Apr 16, 2016 12:47 PM
Yemen committees monitoring cease-fire agree to begin work

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Local Yemeni committees tasked to monitor a week-old cease-fire between Yemen's internationally recognized government and Shiite rebels, agreed Saturday to begin their work on the ground at six front-lines, security officials said.

The monitors in the city of Taiz have agreed to monitor the cease-fire as of 2 p.m. local time and to exchange records of prisoners of war in preparation to release them, said security officials from the two sides of the civil war.

Following a prisoner exchange, local monitors also agreed to open roads to Taiz, which the rebels have besieged for nearly a year.

The cease-fire had begun last Sunday ahead of peace talks due to begin next week in Kuwait. However both sides have reported multiple truce violations by the other side.

A Saudi-led military coalition has waged an extensive air campaign for a year against the rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies, who have controlled the capital, Sanaa, since September 2014.

Houthi and independent security officials said the Saudi-led coalition violated the cease-fire again Saturday with airstrikes on Houthi positions in Omran province, north of Sanaa. The officials said there were no clashes in the area, which is inhabited by Houthis.

Meanwhile, government and Saudi-led forces are still continuing their battles against both al-Qaida and Islamic State affiliates in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes Saturday on al-Qaida positions west of the town of Jaar in Abyan province, according to security officials and witnesses. The developments take place a day after the city of al-Houta, the capital of Lahj province, came firmly under government control after al-Qaida militants fled the city on Friday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The witnesses requested anonymity for security reasons.