Sanaa residents demand extending the UN-brokered truce
UN-brokered two-month nationwide truce ends on 2 June amid calls on warring parties to extend it.
Adel Salem Mehdi was sitting on a sidewalk in front of his house opposite the gate of Sanaa Airport on June 1, an hour before the first commercial flight in six years coming from Cairo landed at Sanaa Airport at 4:00 pm on the last day of the two-month truce.
"This truce brings about many benefits to citizens", 42-year-old Mehdi told Al Mayadeen English. "For me, there are no airstrikes at the airport that are terrorizing us."
The European Union welcomed on June 1 the first commercial flight between Sanaa and Cairo since 2016.
"A further step to consolidate the truce and allow Yemenis to seek medical care, study, and reunite with loved ones. It is now even more important to reach an agreement on reopening roads, notably in Taiz," the EU tweeted.
On June 1, security forces of Sanaa Airport prevented Al Mayadeen English and other media outlets from covering the arrival of the first commercial flight in six years between Yemen and Egypt at 4 pm.
The plane took off from Sanaa Airport, on June 1, at 8:00 am carrying 78 passengers, heading to Cairo, and returned to Sanaa Airport at 4:00 pm, carrying 145 passengers, according to the Civil Aviation & Meteorology Authority.
June 2nd marked the end of the two-month UN-brokered nationwide truce that went into force on 2 April, amid hopes that the warring parties agree to extend it.
On May 31, the Norwegian Refugee Council, along with dozens of other organizations working in Yemen, asked the parties to the conflict to extend the truce agreement.
Ansar Allah-led Supreme Political Council, during a meeting on June 1, stressed that extending the truce depends on implementing all obligations of the last two-month truce. Many topics are to discuss, notably the compensation for flights or fuel ships and commitments related to the humanitarian issues like wages and salary payment.
The Council was referring to operating daily flights to compensate for the 16 flights, knowing that only seven flights have taken off from Sanaa as of June 1.
The UN envoy to Yemen announced on Thursday that the Yemenis have agreed to extend the UN's proposal to renew the current truce for two additional months.
Saudi Arabia launched its aggression against Yemen in March 2015 following the success of Ansar Allah popular fighters and allied armed forces in toppling the corrupt Saudi-backed government of ousted President Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi and forcing him to flee to the Saudi Kingdom.
The Saudi war has triggered what the UN described as the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Saudi airstrikes that hit schools, markets, funerals, and wedding parties have killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians.
'Find a solution to end war'
"Personally, I’ve gained nothing from this truce; the ones who received benefit were the passengers", Adel Mehdi told Al Mayadeen English.
Wednesday's flight was only the seventh out of 16 agreed upon under the UN-brokered truce. The six previous flights had all been directed to the Jordanian capital, Amman.
There were delays from the Saudi coalition to launch the first flight over issues related to passports being issued by Sanaa Government. Later, the coalition allowed passengers to travel with passports issued by Ansar Allah authorities.
On May 16, a Yemenia plane, the flag carrier airline of Yemen, carrying 126 passengers, took off from Sanaa Airport heading to the Jordanian capital of Amman as the first commercial flight to leave Sanaa since August 2016.
"I wish the truce can be extended, and the war could stop," Mehdi, father of three children, said.
"If the truce is not extended, it means the war and the blockade will be renewed; Sanaa Airport and Al-Hudaydah port will be closed", he added.
"There will be relief if the truce is extended", Mehdi said.
Mehdi addressed the warring sides, saying, "Find a solution to end the war as quickly as possible. People are fed up with this situation. I'm the first one suffering; my house is in front of Sanaa Airport's gate and my shops are closed because the airport had been closed for six months."
'It brought us peace'
Umm Mohammed, an elder mother who declined to give her real name, was sitting under a tree near Sanaa Airport on June 1. She said she was delighted by hearing the sounds of commercial flights.
She lives in Bani Hewat neighborhood, the heavily populated area near Sanaa Airport. This neighborhood was the first to be targeted by the Saudi-led coalition on the first day of the aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015.
"It [sound of commercial flights] reminds me of days of peace, that is, before 2015, before Saudi Arabia launched its aggression against Yemen," Umm Mohammed told Al Mayadeen English.
"I wish life will remain as it is now, no war and no bombardment," she added.
"Personally, I’ve gained nothing from this truce, but it brought us peace, and no more civilians are killed," Umm Mohammed said. "We hope they [warring parties] agree to end the war rather than just extending the truce."
Ready for peace or war
Kamal Bander, an injured person from a war landmine, was sitting in a shop off Sanaa Airport.
"I am planning to travel abroad for treatment," Bander told Al Mayadeen English. "I am just waiting for a call from the Medical Committee."
Bander lost his left eye when a landmine exploded and a fragment hit his left eye during the battle of Al-Jawf province in early 2020.
Bander is one of 30k wounded Yemeni according to the Ministry of Health and the Medical Committee polls. These injured need urgently to travel abroad for treatment.
"I hope this war ends and allows Yemeni civilians to live in peace," Bander told Al Mayadeen English. "If the Saudis are not ready for peace, we are ready for an unexpectable war."