SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross says over a hundred rebel prisoners released by the Saudi-led coalition have returned to Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen, a step toward a long-anticipated prisoner swap between the warring parties.
The ICRC, which supervised the arrival, said in a statement that 128 of 200 captives freed earlier this week arrived at the airport in the capital Sanaa.
Thursday’s prisoner transfer was a sign the Saudi coalition and Iran-backed Houthis were advancing a U.N.-brokered deal aimed at ending the war in the Arab world’s poorest country.
In September, Houthis freed scores of captives who had been held since the rebels seized Sanaa, along with much of northern Yemen, in 2014.
The ICRC said it hoped these releases would “create positive momentum to return more detainees to their families.”