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Saudi Arabia Loosens Grip on Yemen, Opens Port to Aid

© REUTERS / Abduljabbar ZeyadA view of cranes, damaged by air strikes, at the container terminal of the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen November 26, 2017
A view of cranes, damaged by air strikes, at the container terminal of the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen November 26, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The humanitarian situation in war-devastated Yemen seems to have started showing signs of improving. Saudi Arabia is leading the coalition of countries supporting the national government against the Houthi movement.

Saudi Arabia has announced the reopening of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, where food aid and commercial fuel will be delivered in the next thirty days.

"The port of Hodeidah will remain open for humanitarian and relief supplies and the entry of commercial vessels, including fuel and food vessels, for a period of 30 days," the Saudi-led coalition leadership said in a statement.

The decision came following permanent demands by an array of aid agencies, including the UN, to lift the 30-day blockade of Hodeidah, which is seen as a lifeline for more than 70 percent of those in need of humanitarian aid in Yemen.

READ MORE: Yemen Civil War: The Impact of 986 Days of Conflict in Numbers

Welcoming the coalition's move, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed hope "this will start to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people and get them the supplies they desperately need."

2015 saw the beginning of the Yemeni civil war between the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, backed by the Arab coalition, and the Houthi rebel movement initially supported by military units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

After Saleh cut ties with the Houthis forces and proposed a "new page" with the Saudi-led coalition forces, he was killed by his former allies on December 4.

READ MORE: What the Future Has in Store for Yemen After Ex-President Saleh's Assassination

Shortly after the start of the conflict, the coalition imposed a blockade of Yemen, which it said was aimed at preventing the Houthis from receiving arms supplies from abroad.

The blockade led to a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where the UN claimed at least 8.4 million people are "a step away from famine."

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