Celebrations as Yemen civil war prisoners freed in huge swap World News

More than 1,000 political prisoners captured during the Yemen civil war began to undergo mass prisoner swaps over the past two years and on Thursday jointly overseen by the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross.

The exchange led to scenes of celebration and victory inside Yemen. United Nations diplomats said they expected the bulk of the swap to be completed within the next two days.

The exchange has included a complex compilation of consent lists of names, logistic planning, and a slow build of trust between the parties over the six-year civil war. Diplomats hope that some people in the trust can still be used to open the way for negotiations on the interim national joint declaration and ceasefire.

The United Nations is struggling to negotiate a cease-fire between the Houthi rebels, initially based in the north, and is a Saudi-backed and UN-recognized government.

In total, five aircraft had seven flights and more than 700 detainees were released during a 12-hour-long operation on the first day. Two aircraft left Aura in Saudi Arabia bound for Yemen’s capital Sanaa; Two more detainees from Seyun Airport within Yemen, to Hadramaut, Sanaa; And three flights departed Sanaa, two Seyun and one from Riyadh to Saudi Arabia.

Another transfer flight releases former prisoners on 15 October at Siyun Airport, Hyderabad, Yemen.

Another transfer flight releases former prisoners on 15 October at Siyun Airport, Hyderabad, Yemen. Photo: Ali Ovidah / Reuters

A military red carpet of released Houthis arrived in Sanaa for the reception, kissing the ground, punching the air and generally being greeted as returning heroes.

The ICRC did not break down the exact number of people replaced, but it is understood that 1,081 prisoners were released, most of them Houthis.

Local media at both airports heard stories of prisoners being beaten and tortured, as well as claiming that they were used as human shields, or captured despite being civilians.

Former regional director, Fabrizio Carboni, said the ICRC said he had received a number of questions from prisoners, their families and others about whether the transfer was actually taking place. He replied on Twitter: “I am happy to know that the release operation has started in Yemen. It has been in the making for two years. It is a long process that will last for days, but it will end with families starting again and that is what matters. ”

The concept of large-scale prisoner swap was first agreed upon in Stockholm about two years ago, but progress was made with the issue of points issued by both sides, the status of traders and Did the enlisted people progress for release. Reality under house arrest.

A final settlement was reached in Montreux, Switzerland in September, but individuals then had to inquire to make sure they wanted to leave.

Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, said he hoped the parties would now realize that “peaceful dialogue can deliver”. He urged all sides to discuss the release of all the struggling prisoners.

The swap takes place against the backdrop of the ongoing fight, but in a policy brief, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) urged the European Union to continue to engage with the Houthis, pointing to the Iranian-backed movement as a third of the country’s territory. Controlled. Two-thirds of the Yemeni population lived.

The ECFR warned that Hardy factions were ascending in the Houthi movement; They were ready to use state repression and were convinced that Saudi Arabia could be defeated militarily. But the ECFR’s paper suggests that the Hothis cannot seek control over the entire country, providing an opening for negotiations.

The letter also states that “the possibility of a new US administration under Joey Biden, [which] Given the widespread desire among US Democrats to re-activate diplomatic avenues to end the war and exit conflicts in the Middle East, a joint US-European push could provide an opening.


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