More than 1,000 political prisoners were captured Yemen Thursday marked the beginning of a civil war over a massive prisoner transfer that has been negotiated over the past two years and was largely overseen by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
This exchange led to scenes of celebration and victory within Yemen. UN envoys said they hoped most of the relocation would be completed in the next two days.
The exchange includes a complex set of trusted names, logistics planning and slowly built-up lists between the parties to the six-year civil war. The ambassadors hope that some hopes can still be used to pave the way for negotiations on an interim national joint declaration and a ceasefire.
Initially based in the north, the Houthi rebels also received support from Saudi Arabia and the UN. The UN is fighting for a ceasefire agreement between the recognized government.
In all, seven of the five flights took place, and more than 700 prisoners were released during the 12-hour operation on the first day. Two planes flew inside Aba Saudi Arabia Bound for Sanaa, the capital of Yemen; Two more prisoners were taken into Yemen from Zion Airport in Hadramawt to Sanaa; Three planes took off from Sanaa, two to Zion and one to Riyadh Saudi Arabia.
The liberated Houthis came to Sanaa for a military red carpet reception, kissed the ground, punched in the air and were greeted as returning heroes in general.
The ICRC did not precisely stop the exchange of people, but it is understood that 1,081 prisoners were released, most of them Houthis.
Local media at both airports reported stories of detainees being beaten and tortured, either as human shields, or as if they had been captured by civilians.
Fabrizio Carboni, director of the Eastern Region near the ICRC, said he had received numerous questions from detainees, their families and others, asking if the relocation was “really happening.” He responded on Twitter: “I am pleased to respond that the launch has begun in Yemen. It has been in production for two years. It’s a long process, it can take days, but it’s important that families reunite and end up together. ”
The idea of a large-scale prisoner transfer was initially agreed upon in talks in Stockholm about two years ago, but progress was thwarted as both sides argued over the numbers to be released, the status of the mercenaries and whether those listed for release. True in detention.
A final deal was struck in Montreux, Switzerland in September, but then individuals had to be questioned to make sure they wanted to leave.
Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, said he hoped the parties would now realize that “peaceful dialogue can be provided.” He called on the two sides to reunite to discuss the release of all prisoners involved in the conflict.
The relocation comes in the wake of ongoing fighting, but in a nutshell, the European Foreign Council (ECFR) urged the EU to engage with the Houthis, while the pro-Iranian movement controlled one-third of the country’s two-thirds Yemeni population.
The ECFR warned that there were serious factions in the Houth The movement; They were ready to use state repression and firmly believed that Saudi Arabia could be defeated militarily. But the ECFR study suggests that the Houthis should not seek control of the entire country, which provides a starting point for negotiations.
“The Possibility of a New U.S. Administration Under Joe Biden,” [which] The widespread desire among American Democrats to end the war and re-energize diplomatic paths from the conflict in the Middle East could provide a starting point for a joint US-European push. ”