SANA’A (Dispatches) – Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement said Sunday it is ready to exchange all prisoners with the Saudi-backed former Yemeni regime, one day after a major prisoner swap between the two warring sides, Anadolu Agency report.
"We are ready to exchange all prisoners, including former Defense Minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi,” Ansarullah leader Mohamed Ali al-Houthi said on Twitter.
Al-Subaihi was captured by the Ansarullah fighters in March 2015.
Al-Houthi called for forming an independent commission to look into torture of prisoners held by the former Yemeni regime and the Saudi-led coalition.
On Thursday and Friday, the Yemeni regime and Ansarullah swapped prisoners under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The prisoner-swap was the largest since the Saudi regime and its allies launched a devastating war on the country, with Houthi Ansarullah movement releasing militants affiliated with the former regime.
More than 1,000 people were released and transported to their homes over the exchange.
The Ansarullah movement said 671 prisoners arrived in the capital Sana’a during the process.
On Sept. 27, a joint statement by the ICRC and the UN announced a deal in Geneva between the two warring sides to exchange over 1,000 prisoners, including 15 Saudis and four Sudanese.
The ICRC said 11 flights took off or landed at five different cities: Yemen’s Sana’a, Seiyun and Aden; and Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh and Abha. It synchronized the planes as they left from their respective cities to ensure both rivals it would be a fair exchange.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the exchange of detainees, calling it an "important step” in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.
Guterres also urged the parties "to finalize the joint declaration, consisting of a nationwide ceasefire, economic and humanitarian measures, as well as the resumption of a comprehensive, inclusive political process to end the war”, according to a statement by his spokesperson.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power.
The U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have purchased billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the United States, France and the United Kingdom in their war on Yemen.
Riyadh and its allies have been widely criticized for the high civilian death toll resulted from their bombing campaign in Yemen.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.