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.