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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Jeddah - Saeed al-Abyad

Yemen Completes Second Phase of Prisoner Swap

Saudi deputy Chief of Staff Mutlaq al-Azima honors one of the Sudanese prisoners who was released. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The second phase of a prisoner swap was carried out on Saturday between the Yemeni government and Iran-backed Houthi militias.

Nineteen prisoners from the Arab coalition were released by the Houthis and flown to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, while some 250 Houthi detainees were flown to Sanaa airport.

The coalition said 16 of those released by the Houthis were Saudis and three were Sudanese. Among them were relatives of Presidential Leadership Council member Tariq Saleh.

They were received at Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport by Saudi Chief of Staff Fayyadh Al Ruwaili, his deputy Mutlaq al-Azima, commander of the joint forces, leaders of military branches, head of the military apparatus at the National Guard and the military attache at the Sudanese embassy.

Yemeni deputy minister for human rights and spokesman for the government negotiations team Majed Fadail told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saturday's swap included some 300 prisoners from al-Mokha in western Yemen, who were flown to Sanaa, and 250 Houthi prisoners held in Abha in southern Saudi Arabia, who were flown to Sanaa.

The fist phase of the exchange was held on Friday and witnessed the release of 318 detainees from both sides. They were released in four flights, operated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, between Sanaa and the Yemeni interim capital Aden.

The entire exchange will witness the release of 887 detainees. Sunday will witness the release of 107 prisoners from Marib who will be taken to Sanaa and 90 prisoners from Sanaa who will be taken to Marib.

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