Smoke and fire billow during a controlled explosion by a Yemeni army demining team to destroy explosives and landmines laid by militants, near the southern port city of Aden, Yemen, May 4, 2016. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
SANAA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni warring parties on Wednesday exchanged 35 prisoners in the country's southern embattled city of Taiz through a mediation led by the International Committee of the Red Cross, a spokesman of the Taiz's pro-government resistance forces said.
"We exchanged today (Wednesday) 19 prisoners from Shiite Houthi militia and their allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in return for 16 prisoners of our Taiz resistance forces," spokesman Abdulrahman Saleh told Xinhua.
"The prisoner exchange was done after a five-month-long mediation coordinated by the International Committee of the Red Cross," he said.
Like other major cities, most of Taiz's districts are still under control of Houthi and Saleh forces.
The Iran-allied Shiite Houthi group and forces loyal to Saleh advanced from their far north stronghold of Saada province and stormed the capital Sanaa and other cities in September 2014, dissolved the Saudi-backed government and expelled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on allegations of combating "corruption."
Saudi-led coalition air forces intervened since March 2015, vowing to return Hadi to power and Sanaa. So far, Hadi and his government were still in exile in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
The civil war has escalated since then, leaving more than 6,000 killed so far in ground battles and airstrikes, half of them are civilians.
The ongoing conflict also has forcibly displaced more than 2.4 million people in Yemen.
The warring parties now have been in talks in Kuwait since April under the auspices of the United Nations to end the war.
Last week, the delegates of both sides in Kuwait agreed to a major prisoner exchange to be carried out before the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
The move was considered as a show of goodwill to end about 14-month war and ease the prolonged humanitarian crisis.
The sides have submitted lists of about 7,000 prisoner requests, which include political detainees, to UN mediators.
UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a press conference last week that the International Committee of the Red Cross had met with the delegations to show its possible role in facilitate a release process.
The fragile ceasefire has been largely held since it went into effect on April 10 to pave a smooth road for the ongoing talks in Kuwait.
The government also demand the opposition delegates to comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 2216 that orders them to withdraw from the capital and disarm.
SANAA, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni government has suspended its participation in peace talks in Kuwait again and here is the winner of the crippling peace process in the country: terror.
In recent weeks, southern and southeastern regions have seen deadly Islamic State (IS)-claimed bombings. Full story