Oman receives evacuated rebels ahead of Yemen talks

MUSCAT (AA) – Oman has taken in 50 injured Houthi rebels, who were evacuated from war-torn Yemen for medical treatment ahead of this week's peace talks in Sweden, according to the country’s official news agency.

The agency said the move aims to back UN efforts aimed at creating favorable conditions for this week’s talks between Yemen’s warring rivals.

The evacuation of injured Houthis was one of the main reasons that led to the failure of the Geneva talks in September when Houthis refused to participate in the consultations, citing refusal of the Saudi-led coalition to evacuate the injured rebels.

On Monday, the Saudi-led military coalition evacuated the 50 injured Houthi rebels to Oman for treatment.

In November, the Saudi-led coalition announced the establishment of safe corridors between Sanaa and Yemen’s western strategic Hudaydah province.

Representatives of the internationally-recognized Yemeni government and Houthi rebels are set to meet in Sweden this week for UN-sponsored talks aimed at ending the four-year conflict in the impoverished country.

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when the Houthi rebel group overran much of the country and the crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Tens of thousands of people, including civilians, are believed to have been killed and the UN estimates that around 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine.