Yemen Prisoner Swap Completed; 1081 Prisoners Exchanged

Largest prisoner exchange of Yemen War took only two days to finish

Agreed to in previous peace talks, the 1,081-man prisoner exchange in Yemen has been a complete success, and finished after just two days. This was the largest prisoner exchange in the Yemen War.

The prisoners were overwhelmingly Yemenis, swapped between the Saudi-led forces and the Shi’ite Houthi movement. 15 Saudis were also part of the exchange, along with an unknown number of Sudanese fighters. Two Americans were also released.

The Red Cross oversaw the exchange, confirming over 700 prisoners exchanged Thursday, and confirming that the rest were freed Friday morning, with a plane leaving Aden carrying the last 101 Houthi prisoners.

There is huge hope that this successful exchange is a trust-building measure that will give both sides something to build on in ongoing peace talks. There have been several attempts to build peace talks between these two sides, but so far they’ve not amounted to much.

Talk of ending the war have mostly centered on a power-sharing deal for Yemen among the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government, though the government has resisted sharing, and the UAE-backed separatists are keen to see a resolution in which Yemen is split along historical north and south lines.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.