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A Dramatic Turn in Ethiopia’s Tigray War
A Dramatic Turn in Ethiopia’s Tigray War
Podcast / Africa

A Dramatic Turn in Ethiopia’s Tigray War

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to William Davison, Crisis Group’s Ethiopia expert, about the stunning turn in the war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, as rebels seized regional capital Mekelle and the government announced a unilateral ceasefire.

Earlier this week, fighters loyal to the ousted leaders of Ethiopia’s Tigray region recaptured Mekelle, the regional capital, as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed withdrew federal forces and announced a unilateral ceasefire after eight months of brutal war. This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to William Davison, senior analyst for Ethiopia, about this dramatic turnaround, its immediate fallout and what may come next. William explains how Tigrayan forces managed to consolidate control in rural areas, build up forces thanks in large part to popular support and launch attacks on Tigrayan cities and towns. They look at the balance of power in Tigray today and the likelihood of further fighting between Tigrayan forces and those of Eritrea, who were fighting alongside the Ethiopian army. They also examine prospects for a Tigrayan offensive to capture back disputed territory currently held by the Amhara, another of Ethiopia’s ethnic groups. William explains how Abiy has portrayed the withdrawal of government troops and the potential implications of their retreat for his popularity in the rest of Ethiopia. They also discuss the importance of getting aid in and what international actors should focus on in the days ahead. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Ethiopia page.


Executive Vice President
Naz Modirzadeh
Board Member and Harvard Professor of International Law and Armed Conflicts
Senior Analyst, Ethiopia