Danger and demons: Yemen’s mysterious ‘Well of Hell’
21 June 2021 | 2:30 pm
Surrounded in mystery and tales of demons, the Well of Barhout in Yemen's east -- known as the "Well of Hell" -- is a little-understood natural wonder. Closer to the border with Oman than to the capital Sanaa 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) away, the giant hole in the desert of Al-Mahra province is 30 metres wide and thought to be anywhere between 100 and 250 metres deep.
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Ripple effects of the Saudi-Iran rapprochement relieve some of the tensions of the ongoing war in Yemen. However, the conflicting inter-Yemeni positions remain unresolved and continue to cost lives.
The two sides in Yemen's conflict have agreed to free nearly 900 people in a prisoner exchange. That deal comes less than two weeks after Saudi Arabia and Iran re-established diplomatic ties after years of hostility. The two regional powers have backed opposing sides in Yemen's war, and their rapprochement has galvanised efforts to end the conflict. We take a closer look.
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Neither the ongoing negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi group, nor the upcoming prisoner swap, are tangible signals for an upcoming end of the war as most Yemeni factions remain excluded.
The two parties agreed to exchange nearly 900 detainees following a round of talks which aims to revive an expired ceasefire. Saudi Arabia restored diplomatic ties with Iran last month.
Germany's top diplomat Annalena Barbock says the United Nations must be an integral part of securing long-term peace in war-torn Yemen. An improvement in regional ties meant there was now a spark of optimism, she said.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to increase its influence in the Emirates-backed port city of Aden. Behind this move, observers see the beginning of an exit strategy from the brutal and costly war in Yemen.
The UN says it has begun an operation to pump 1 million barrels of oil from a rusting supertanker off Yemen's coast, hoping to avoid an environmental disaster that could devastate local ecosystems and major ports.
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