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Homeforeign policyYemen Airways suspends flights from rebel-held capital amid dispute over frozen funds

Yemen Airways suspends flights from rebel-held capital amid dispute over frozen funds

Yemen’s state-run carrier has suspended the only air route out of the country’s rebel-held capital to protest Houthi restrictions on its funds, officials said Sunday.

Yemen Airways canceled its commercial flights from Sanaa’s international airport to the Jordanian capital of Amman. The airline had been operating six commercial and humanitarian flights a week between Sanaa and Amman as of the end of September.

The Sanaa-Amman air route was reintroduced last year as part of a U.N.-brokered cease-fire between the Houthis and the internationally recognized government. The cease-fire agreement expired in October 2022, but the warring factions refrained from taking measures that would lead to a flare-up of all-out fighting.

Yemen’s civil war began in 2014, when the Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, and forced the government into exile. The Saudi-led coalition entered the war in early 2015 to try restore the government to power.

The airline blamed the Iranian-backed Houthis for the move because they were withholding $80 million in the company’s funds in Houthi-controlled banks in Sanaa. It said in a statement on Saturday that the rebels rejected a proposal to release 70% of the funds. The statement said the airline’s sales in Sanaa exceed 70% of its revenues.

“It is outrageous that demonstrators commemorating a national historical moment found themselves attacked, arrested, and facing charges simply because they were waving flags,” Amnesty said, and called on Houthis to immediately release those detained.

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