Reopening Roads Sparks Uncertain Hope in Yemen

News Agencies | 2024-06-09 01:04 PM UTC


The Chief of Staff of the Marib-based Third Military Region, Brigadier General Abdul Raqeeb Dabwan, conducted a field visit to remove barriers and dunes from the road linking the Al Bayda-Marib provinces in preparation for the reopening of the main roads for passengers and civilians after several years of closure.

Dabwan visited roads in the "Al-Falaj" and "Al-Arif" fronts, pointing out that the road will be open to passengers within 24 hours, the government-run September 26 website said today.

This came after the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group agreed to reopen the road connecting Marib and Al Bayda provinces.

According to Dabwan, the political and military leadership of the Yemeni government agreed to reopen the road to relieve citizens of the suffering they are exposed to on the desert road. He added, "We do not fight or defend except for the sake of the people and the rights of citizens."

In Taiz, the Houthi group and representatives of the Yemeni government are working to reopen the roads that connect Al-Hawban district to Taiz City. Such roads have been blocked since the war broke out in 2015.

Though the reopening of roads is a positive step that can mitigate the suffering of civilians, the defense minister of the Yemeni government, Mohsen Al-Daeri, said such a matter should be subjected to a ceasefire agreement.

Al-Daeri added, "Such decisions should be made in accordance with the directives of the political leadership and through the relevant committees, away from randomness and haste."

Houthi media slammed Al-Daeri for making such a statement, calling him "treacherous" and "mercenary" as Houthi officials say the road reopening initiative is "humanitarian" and aims to alleviate the suffering of civilians in Taiz province and facilitate the movement of citizens as the Eid al-Adha holiday approaches.


Since the outbreak of the conflict in Yemen in 2015, pro-government forces have controlled the center of Taiz city, while the Houthis have maintained control over its eastern, northern and western suburbs, including the main entrances to the city.

Travelling from Houthi-controlled Al-Hawban City to Taiz City could take five minutes by car before the war. After blocking the roads, civilians traveled eight hours to reach Taiz City.

With the news on the reopening of roads in Taiz and Marib, civilians in Yemen have expressed hope that the parties to the conflict in Yemen will agree on some humanitarian files to alleviate the suffering of the people.

Saleem Ghalib, 34, is originally from Taiz and has lived in Sanaa since 2006. Before the 2015 war, it was easy for him to travel to Taiz. However, his travel to visit his relatives in Taiz became an arduous task.

He told Sheba Intelligence, "I cannot imagine the two sides of the war have agreed to reopen the road and allow civilians to travel freely and safely. Our suffering has been unspeakable, and we have lost hope in an agreement between the Houthis and the government. However, their agreement on reopening the roads has revived our hope."

Abdu Ahmed, a Yemeni expatriate in Saudi Arabia, said he is happy about the reopening of the road connecting Marib and Al-Bayda, and this will spare him the suffering he experiences when he travels from Yemen to Saudi Arabia.

"Travelling through the desert roads is painful and horrible. We wish this misery would end soon. If the parties to the conflict are not ready to reach a political agreement, they should at least agree to determine the safe roads to facilitate the movement of Yemenis," Ahmed told Sheba Intelligence.

It remains uncertain if the roads reopening initiative will be successful and whether it will lead to further peace breakthroughs.