Stories by Hardin Lang

Expert Voices

U.S. exit from Syria would heighten need for humanitarian aid

 Displaced Syrian girls lean on a cistern during rainy weather at a camp for Syrian displaced people near the Syrian-Turkish border in the Northern countryside of Idlib.
Girls at a camp for displaced Syrian people near the Syrian–Turkish border in Idlib, on Dec. 4. Photo: Anas Alkharboutli/picture alliance via Getty Images

The sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria that Trump has called for, potentially within as little as 30 days, would pose severe humanitarian risks.

Why it matters: The power vacuum created by an abrupt U.S. disengagement could spark a new round of fighting, which in turn will disrupt and displace communities. The result could be an even worse humanitarian crisis in a country where some 11 million people have fled their homes and more than half a million people in the northeast alone are already receiving some form of humanitarian assistance.

Expert Voices

Yemen cease-fire marks a breakthrough, but peace is far from secure

Yemen's foreign minister Khaled al-Yamani (L) and rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam (R) shake hands under the eyes of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres during peace consultations
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani, rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in peace talks on December 13. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Houthi-led rebel movement agreed to a cease-fire in the port city of Hodeidah and its surrounding governorate on Thursday, following a week of UN–sponsored peace talks in Sweden.

Why it matters: The agreement follows mounting pressure from humanitarian groups; if it holds, it would mark a major diplomatic breakthrough. Since some 70% of basic commodities and relief aid flow through Hodeidah, keeping the port open is essential to staving off even more widespread food insecurity.

Expert Voices

Yemen peace talk odds helped by pressure on Saudis and support at UN

Yemeni government fighters in a truck on an empty, dusty road
Yemeni pro-government forces on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida on November 13, 2018. Photo: Saleh Al-Obeidi/AFP/Getty Images

A senior Houthi leader announced last night that the rebel fighters would halt military operations against the Saudi-led coalition. Hours later, Yemen’s internationally recognized government signaled that it’s ready to take part in peace talks. And this afternoon, the UN Security Council took up a draft resolution to support the talks.

Why it matters: Yemen’s civil war has cost the lives of as many as 10,000 civilians and created the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. It has also become a flash point for conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran that threatens regional stability.

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