Members of a Yemeni coast guard force ride on the back of a petrol truck during their deployment as part of a U.N.-sponsored peace agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month, at the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, Yemen December 29, 2018.
Members of a Yemeni coast guard force ride on the back of a petrol truck during their deployment as part of a U.N.-sponsored peace agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month, at the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, Yemen December 29, 2018.

Yemen's Houthi rebels have started withdrawing from the port of Hodeida, a U.N. official said Saturday.

Handing over control of Hodeida, a key lifeline for Yemen, was included in a U.N.-sponsored agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month.

The withdrawal is one in a series of measures in the agreement that could lead to an end of Yemen's 4-year-old civil war. During the conflict, the Iranian-aligned Houthis have clashed with a Yemeni government backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

A convoy of members of a United Nations advance team tasked with monitoring a cease-fire that went into force in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, departs Sanaa airport, Yemen, Dec. 22, 2018.
UN-led Monitors Meet in Yemen's Hodeida as Clashes Test Truce
A U.N.-led team tasked with monitoring a cease-fire met Wednesday in Yemen's flashpoint city of Hodeida, after sporadic clashes underscored the fragility of the truce which began last week.The cease-fire in the rebel-held city, home to a Red Sea port vital for millions at risk of starvation, is part of a peace push seen as the best chance yet of ending four years of devastating conflict.

The pullout began after the two sides observed a week-long cease-fire in Hodeida, a point of entry for aid to about 14 million Yemenis the U.N. says are on the verge of famine. The U.N. adds the war's affect on civilians has created the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

A U.N. team led by retired Dutch Major General Patrick Cammaert arrived in the city last week to oversee the cease-fire.

The agreement, the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts in five years, also calls for the Houthi's to withdraw from the port of Salif and Rass Issa.

It is still unclear how far the rebels will withdraw and who will control the ports.

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