Yemeni army, Houthi rebels exchange 206 prisoners in Taiz

Swap includes release of 70 Houthi fighters, 136 prisoners and abductees, most of them civilians.

Yemeni army, Houthi rebels exchange 206 prisoners in Taiz

The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels exchanged prisoners and detainees Wednesday in a swap in Taiz governorate with the help of local mediation.

A statement published by the media center of the Taiz Military Axis, a military group affiliated with the Yemeni army, announced the completion of the exchange of 206 prisoners and detainees with the Houthis in Sami district south of Taiz city.

“The deal included the release of about 70 fighters from the Houthi militia in exchange for 136 prisoners and kidnapped people, most of whom were civilians kidnapped from checkpoints and streets,” the statement said.

The Houthis have not commented on the matter.

Several prisoner exchange deals have already been successful between government forces and the Houthis on several fronts.

Last October, the Yemeni government and the Houthis exchanged 1,056 prisoners from both sides over two days, including 15 Saudis and four Sudanese, in the largest prisoner exchange since the beginning of the war.

In 2018, negotiations were held between the government and the Houthis in Sweden, during which the two parties provided a list of more than 15,000 prisoners, detainees and abductees.

There is no accurate count of prisoners on either side as they continue to capture each other during their ongoing war.

Yemen has been ravaged by violence and instability since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sana’a.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

It has since caused one of the world's worst man-made humanitarian crises, with 80% of the population in need of assistance and protection.

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Hüseyin Demir

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