By Ali Oweida
MAARIB, Yemen (AA) – Yemen’s Houthis on Friday offered to carry out a prisoner swap with both the Yemeni government and Saudi Arabia, which has led a military coalition against the rebel group since 2015.
“We are ready to carry out a wide-ranging prisoner exchange, either directly or through the Red Cross,” Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, a leading Houthi official, tweeted Friday.
Yemen’s Aden-based government says the Houthis have rejected past attempts to exchange prisoners, accusing the group of abducting thousands of Yemenis, including political and military leaders.
There are no reliable figures as to the number of prisoners being held by the Houthis or those being held by the Yemeni government or the Saudi-led coalition.
Yemen has been racked by violence since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.