The fragile truce that had lasted since 1991 in Western Sahara has collapsed as the Moroccan military launched an operation in a UN-manned buffer strip in the disputed Guerguerat border zone.

The Moroccan military stated that the operation was launched to clear a key road that had been blocked since October 21, following weeks of “provocations,” by supporters of the pro-independence Polisario Front.

The road cuts across the UN buffer strip towards the border between Western Sahara and Mauritania; it links Morocco to Mauritania. The road is the primary access highway for the movement of goods and people between the two countries.

The Polisario Front considers the road illegal since it says it was built in violation of the 1991 truce.