RIYADH (Reuters) - Two sons of slain former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh are being transferred from Sanaa, the capital held by the Houthi movement, to Jordan in an operation facilitated by a Saudi-led anti-Houthi coalition, Saudi state TV reported on Wednesday.
Saleh was killed last year in a roadside attack after switching sides in Yemen’s civil war, abandoning his Iran-aligned Houthi allies in favor of the Saudi-led coalition.
Some of his sons and relatives have been held by the Houthi forces which control the capital Sanaa, while his eldest son Ahmed Ali Saleh has lived under house arrest in Abu Dhabi since the war broke out in 2014.
“The coalition announces that it has issued necessary authorizations to a U.N. flight to transport Saleh’s two sons,” Saudi state TV al-Ekhbaria said.
“The coalition is facilitating the transport of the two sons from Sanaa to Amman in Jordan,” it added. It did not name the two sons or specify whether they had already left Sanaa.
The office of the U.N. special envoy to Yemen could not be reached immediately for a comment.
Sources from the Houthi movement told Reuters the group had agreed to release the two sons in a deal with Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC).
The Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, controls Yemen’s airspace, while the Houthis control the capital and the areas where most people live. Hadi’s government controls areas in the south.
Saleh ruled in Sanaa from 1978-2012 when he stepped down in a Saudi-brokered deal after the “Arab Spring” protests that swept the region. He aligned himself with the Houthis to fight against Hadi, his successor, before switching sides last year.
Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Peter Graff