Arab coalition releases 200 Houthi prisoners to support peace deal

he Arab coalition said on Tuesday it had released 200 Houthi prisoners to support peace efforts aimed at ending the nearly five-year war in Yemen. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 27 November 2019

Arab coalition releases 200 Houthi prisoners to support peace deal

  • Aim is to support a UN-brokered deal aimed at ending the nearly five-year war in Yemen

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government has released 200 Houthi prisoners, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday, citing coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki.

Its aim is to support a UN-brokered deal aimed at ending the nearly five-year war in Yemen, said a statement, adding that the purpose is to pave the way for a larger and long-delayed prisoner swap agreed upon last year.

The coalition is also conducting flights in cooperation with the World Health Organization to transport patients from Sanaa to countries where they can receive appropriate medical treatment, he added.

The coalition has been battling the Iran-backed Houthis on behalf of Yemen’s internationally recognized government since 2015. 

The two sides signed a UN peace deal in Sweden last December but have yet to implement it.

The prisoner swap was part of a UN-negotiated agreement reached in Sweden last December. The agreement involved a cease-fire in the port of Hodeida.

Yemeni government officials were quoted by The Associated Press as saying the release of prisoners was a trust-building measure aimed at encouraging the Houthis to negotiate with the coalition to end the war.


Turkey quake death toll rises to 31

Updated 26 January 2020

Turkey quake death toll rises to 31

  • The magnitude 6.8 quake hit on Friday evening, with its epicenter in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province
  • Nearly 80 buildings collapsed while 645 were heavily damaged in Elazig and Malatya

ELAZIG, Turkey: The death toll from a powerful earthquake which struck eastern Turkey rose to 31, officials said Sunday, as rescue efforts continued.
The magnitude 6.8 quake hit on Friday evening, with its epicenter in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province but also affected neighboring cities and countries.
The Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said 31 people died, the majority in Elazig but at least four in nearby Malatya, and 1,607 were injured.
Rescuers scrambled all of Saturday and searched Sunday to rescue people alive from under the rubble. The latest number of individuals rescued was 45, according to AFAD.
Nearly 80 buildings collapsed while 645 were heavily damaged in Elazig and Malatya, the agency said in a statement.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised Saturday that Turkey’s housing agency TOKI would “do whatever is necessary and make sure no one is left without a home.”
He attended the funeral of a woman and her son in Elazig Saturday, later visiting Malatya after canceling a speech in Istanbul.