Tigrayan rebels announced Tuesday that they have withdrawn from a region neighbouring war-wracked Tigray, fulfilling a key condition set by the government when it declared a humanitarian truce last month. The claims could not be independently verified and government officials did not respond immediately to AFP requests for comment. The 17-month conflict between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has sparked famine fears in Tigray and created a humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia as the fighting has expanded to neighbouring Amhara and Afar. The withdrawal of the TPLF from Afar and Amhara was a major condition of the truce announced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government with a view to easing aid deliveries to Tigray, which has been under a de facto blockade according to the UN. Although the pause in fighting allowed humanitarian convoys by road to resume this month after being cut off since mid-December, the region of six million people is still only receiving a fraction of what it needs. On Tuesday, two TPLF spokesmen, Getachew Reda and Kindeya Gebrehiwot, told AFP that their forces had pulled out of Afar.