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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory last weekend in the government’s month-long military operation in the northern Tigray region, after federal troops captured Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital. Despite Abiy’s proclamation, aid workers have confirmed fighting around Mekelle is ongoing, with heavily armed Tigrayan forces appearing to have dug into the surrounding mountains. Experts are now warning the conflict could transform into a drawn-out guerrilla war.
Tigray has been largely inaccessible to independent observers throughout the fighting, and a communications blackout has made it difficult to verify competing claims from the warring sides. But a clearer picture of the situation is likely to emerge in the coming days and weeks, as international aid convoys prepare to enter the region for the first time since fighting began. Abiy reached an agreement Wednesday with the United Nations to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to areas of Tigray under federal control, but that access had yet to begin as of Friday, as U.N. officials were working out the remaining logistical and security issues.