- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday that Yemen's Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia agreed to exchange about 900 prisoners over the next three days, adding that 318 detainees had already flown between the Houthi-held capital, Sanaa, and government-held Aden, as peace talks between the two sides continue.1
- ICRC, which is managing the prisoner exchange, also said that its planes would be used to carry the released detainees between six cities in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.2
- The Houthis are expected to release over 180 prisoners, including top Yemeni military officials, four Yemeni journalists, and Saudi and Sudanese fighters, according to the Associated Press, which also reported that the Saudi-led coalition and the Yemeni government would, in turn, release over 700 Houthi prisoners.3
- The prisoner swap — the largest since 2020, when around 1K prisoners were released — comes after peace talks between Saudi and Houthi officials in Sanaa concluded on Thursday. Further rounds of talks are expected soon.3
- The last prisoner swap occurred last month when the Houthis and Saudi Arabia exchanged some 880 detainees after talks in Switzerland. The Houthis captured Sanaa and most of northern Yemen in 2014, preceding the Saudi intervention the following year.4
- The advancing peace talks in Yemen follow a Chinese-brokered deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran last month that seeks to ease tensions and restore ties between the two regional powers.5
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Al arabiya english. The Houthis have continued to threaten peace and security in Yemen since they launched their coup in 2014. However, through mediation and compromise, an agreement can be made if the Houthis and their Iranian backers are willing to compromise and allow the country to enjoy peace. Saudi Arabia is surely willing to compromise and, in fact, has always been willing to help bring peace to the impoverished Arab nation, but Iranian meddling hasn't helped the situation. Ultimately, the conflict can only end in a political settlement.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Al mayadeen english. It's the Yemeni government and its powerful Gulf allies who have obstructed peace in Yemen and continue to punish its citizens for standing up for themselves. But ultimately, a political process is likely the best way to end the war at this stage in the conflict. The Houthis have shown in the past that they are willing to take good-faith actions for peace, and releasing prisoners clearly demonstrates this desire. Hopefully, with good mediation, this war of aggression can finally come to an end.