A ceasefire is expected to take effect in conflict - ravaged Yemen on Tuesday as the warring sides prepare to start peace talks. After months of fighting that has killed thousands of civilians in the impoverished nation, the United Nations announced last week that negotiations over a possible permanent end to hostilities would take place in Switzerland. The conflict in Yemen pits Houthi rebels, who seized control of the capital at the start of the year, against forces loyal to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and the Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries that support him. The Saudis and their predominantly Sunni allies consider the Houthis, who hail from northern Yemen, to be proxies for the Shiite Yemenis. The Houthis, who follow a different strain of Shiite Islam from the one upheld by the regime in Tehran, deny that Iran supplies them with any direct material support. This is while, the vicious and protracted conflict in Yemen has allowed the rival terrorist groups al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS to expand their reach amid the security vacuum. U.N. agencies have repeatedly warned of an escalating humanitarian crisis as the fighting has deprived millions of people of food supplies. The peace talks are "the only way to end the suffering of the Yemeni people," the U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said last week.