128 Yemeni prisoners of war return to Sana’a from Saudi Arabia

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — 128 Houthi rebel prisoners returned to Sanaa on Thursday after being freed by the Saudi-led military alliance as part of an initiative to support the peace process in the war-torn country.

The prisoners arrived at Sanaa airport from Saudi Arabia aboard three ICRC aircraft and were met by rebel leaders and their families, an AFP correspondent reported.

Earlier, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced the transfer of “128 detainees from Saudi Arabia to Sanaa.” We welcome this initiative and are pleased that humanitarian considerations are being taken into account for families awaiting the return of their loved ones.

The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen announced on Tuesday its intention to release 200 Houthi rebel prisoners and allow patients to travel from Sanaa, a move that supports moves to end the conflict in the country.

The decision came nearly two months after insurgent attacks against Saudi Arabia ceased, and shortly after a Saudi official announced that the kingdom was establishing a “channel of communication” with Tehran-backed rebels to end the 2014 war.

The Houthis agreed with the internationally recognized government, which is supported by the coalition, during talks in Sweden last December, to exchange about 15 thousand prisoners, but the agreement did not come to light.

The rebel-held capital’s airport since the start of the war in 2014 has been closed to flights since 2016, and the coalition that controls the airport’s movement allows only UN and humanitarian organizations to use it.

Tens of thousands of people, including a large number of civilians, have been killed in the power struggle in Yemen, according to humanitarian organizations, especially since coalition operations against the rebels began to halt their advance in neighboring Yemen in March 2015.

Nearly two weeks after coalition raids dwindled, 10 civilians were killed and 22 wounded, including four children and a woman, in an “unexplained” attack on a market in Saada, a rebel stronghold in the impoverished north, according to a statement by the UN Resident Coordinator’s office in Sanaa. .

The attack took place one week after a similar incident in which 10 civilians were killed “in the same place,” according to the office, which said that “many of the dead and wounded are Ethiopians.”

In addition to the victims, 3.3 million people remain displaced and 24.1 million people, more than two-thirds of the population, need help, according to the United Nations, which describes the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as the worst in the world today.


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