Wedding in Sanaa Symbolises Hope in Yemen on First Day of Ceasefire

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Wedding in Sanaa Symbolises Hope in Yemen on First Day of Ceasefire
Fri 15-05-2015

A new wave of optimism was seen in Sanaa on Wednesday as aid agencies began delivering help to desperate Yemenis across the country.

It came after a five-day ceasefire took effect at midnight on Tuesday, bringing to a pause nearly seven weeks of fighting between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the exiled government, backed by Saudi-led air strikes.

In central Sanaa, around 150 people gathered in the Al Mafrj wedding hall for the marriage of 32-year-old Tarek Al Zarqah and his new wife, Najwa Al Baghdadi.

After weeks filled with grief and fear, the wedding was a happy occasion for those attending – made even happier by the absence of gunfire and explosions.

“I am here to celebrate with my dear friend this memorable occasion, and we hope the ceasefire lasts to be able to buy goods and basic needs and to get ready for the next stage of the war,” said Abdulsalam Al Ansi, a civil engineer and friend of Mr Al Zarqah.

The groom, meanwhile, said he was grateful that his wedding could take place in relative peace.

Despite the smiles, however, the wedding was a sombre affair by pre-war Yemeni standards. Weeks of fighting has led to power and fuel shortages across the country, and many of Mr Al Zarqah’s friends and relatives from other parts of the country were unable to attend.