Earlier, the rebels announced they would release 350 prisoners, including three Saudi Arabians, under UN's supervision as part of peace initiative.

Houthi followers attend a gathering to receive food supplies from tribesmen in Sanaa, Yemen on September 21, 2019.
Houthi followers attend a gathering to receive food supplies from tribesmen in Sanaa, Yemen on September 21, 2019. (Reuters)

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday Yemen's Houthi rebels have released 290 detainees rounded up over the years and held in several detention centres across the war-torn country.

It's hoped the release could revive stalled agreements signed last year between the rebels and Yemen's internationally recognised government to free all detainees held by the warring sides.

Earlier, the rebels said they would release 350 prisoners, including three Saudis, under the supervision of the United Nations as part of a peace initiative.

It comes a day after the rebels released footage of a border raid they said showed blasted vehicles and surrendered fighters including Saudi forces. 

Prisoner swap deal 

A prisoner swap between the Houthis and the internationally recognised, Saudi-backed government of Yemen was one of three pillars of a breakthrough deal reached in December in Sweden.

The UN-brokered prisoner swap deal involving some 7,000 detainees on each side stalled as the two sides struggled to agree at talks on its implementation.

"Our initiative proves our credibility in implementing the Sweden agreement and we call on the other party to take a comparable step," said the head of the Houthis' prisoner affairs committee, Abdul Qader al Murtada, in statements carried by Houthi-run al-Masirah TV.

"The 350 prisoners ... are included in the prisoner lists of the Sweden deal," he said.

A Saudi-led coalition, which receives arms and intelligence from Western countries, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the Yemeni government from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The Houthis, who control most major urban areas, said on September 20 they would halt missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia if the alliance stopped its operations. The coalition has not yet responded to the proposal.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, welcomed the offer by the rebels to unilaterally release a number of detainees, saying he hoped it would lead to further progress on an agreed prisoner exchange deal.

'Fake victory'

Meanwhile, Yemeni Information Minister Muammar al Iryani accused Houthi rebels of claiming a "fake victory" to cover up their political dilemma.

On Sunday, the Houthi group said it had carried out a major attack near the border with Saudi Arabia, claiming that three "enemy military brigades had fallen."

"The Iran-backed Houthi militia attempts to propagate false victory through its media tools at a time when it is sustaining heavy losses in troops and machinery on a daily basis," al Iryani said in statements cited by the official Saba news agency.

The Houthis released a video showing an attack on armoured vehicles that the rebel group claimed killed and injured hundreds of Saudi-led coalition troops.

The footage shows a long line of captured troops, dressed in thongs and traditional Yemeni clothing, who appear to be men that surrendered to the rebels.

The authenticity of the video could not be verified.

The Yemeni minister said Houthi rebels have sustained "heavy losses" in all fronts across Yemen.

"The Yemeni army, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, managed to regain hundreds of kilometers in Saada and Hajjah provinces from the rebels," he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies