Arab Coalition releases 104 Houthi prisoners in move led by Saudi Arabia


The Arab Coalition concluded on Monday the release of an additional 104 Houthi prisoners captured in Yemen’s war in a move led by Saudi Arabia, Coalition Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Turki al-Maliki said.

The prisoners’ release is a unilateral move that fell outside the three-day organized prisoner swap that ended on Sunday and was negotiated between Yemen’s Houthi and government officials, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

“The Coalition has concluded freeing the 104 prisoners in coordination with the ICRC and they have…left for Sanaa,” al-Maliki said.

“This initiative comes as an extension to previous humanitarian initiatives led by the Kingdom. [It also] supports efforts to stabilize the truce and create an atmosphere of dialogue between the Yemeni parties in order to reach a comprehensive and sustainable political solution that ends the Yemeni crisis,” al-Maliki said.

He underscored that concluding the exchange file is at heart of the Coalition’s political and military command’s interests.

Two ICRC planes each carrying 48 prisoners flew to Sanaa-Yemen’s capital that has been held by Houthis-while a third with eight captives took off for government-controlled Aden in the south, the humanitarian group said.

Monday’s move brings the number of prisoners exchanged during the process to over 900.

The Iran-backed Houthis say both sides will continue their talks after Eid al-Fitr, the holiday later this week that marks the end of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The conflict has triggered a humanitarian crisis in Yemen and left hundreds of thousands, dead.

A UN-brokered ceasefire that started in April 2022 has sharply reduced casualties. The truce expired in October, but fighting has largely remained on hold.

“This initiative is to also to urge the conflicting sides to support the process of exchanging prisoners and detainees and to end this issue in accordance with the Islamic values, humanitarian principles and authentic Arab traditions as well as international humanitarian law,” al-Maliki said.

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