Al Jazeera English reports: The conflict-ravaged country awaits two scenarios: a new cycle of war or an extended cessation of hostilities.
Fear, anxiety, confusion – these are the most common sentiments expressed by civilians in war-ravaged Yemen as a four-month truce is slated to expire on Tuesday.
“The ceasefire expiry is a rebirth of multiple ordeals,” said Saleh Ahmed, a 50-year-old resident in the capital, Sanaa, who, like others, fears a descent into a new cycle of war.
“Fighting will erupt, roads will be blocked, fuel will be expensive, the price of basic goods will jump, and civilian deaths will mount,” he said. “These troubles make life bitter and unbearable.”
The United Nations-sponsored truce has been the longest respite Yemen has seen in seven years of war, which have pitted the internationally recognised government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who control most of Yemen’s north.
The truce has held, despite reported violations from both sides.
As the expiration date approached, the UN’s envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, as well as the United States envoy, Tim Lenderking, intensified diplomatic efforts to extend it.
Last week, Grundberg visited the southern port city of Aden, the seat of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, as well as the Saudi and Omani capitals of Riyadh and Muscat, respectively. For his part, Lenderking flew to Riyadh and Jordan’s capital, Amman, which, along with Muscat, have hosted negotiators from Yemen’s warring sides.
Ahmed, a minibus driver, described the truce as the “good days”.
“Before the ceasefire, I used to spend hours and hours waiting at the gas stations to fill up my vehicle with petrol. Today, I can fill it anywhere at any time I want. I can work and make money to provide for my family. With the truce, my situation has been better.”
According to the UN, the truce has resulted in improved humanitarian conditions and led to a significant decrease in civilian casualties. It also reduced queues at petrol stations and allowed Yemenis to travel more easily across the country.