Arab Coalition ends United States refueling deal in Yemen

Yemen forces push towards Hodeida as death toll mounts

Houthi Leader Pleads with Deserters to Return

"As a result, in consultation with the United States, the coalition has requested cessation of inflight refueling support for its operations in Yemen".

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis backed the decision and said the US Government was consulted. US officials told Reuters only a fifth of Saudi-led coalition aircraft require in-air refueling from the United States.

The United States is halting refuelling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen, ending one of the most divisive aspects of U.S. assistance to the Saudi war effort.

The move comes amid an ongoing worldwide outcry over Saudi actions in Yemen, particularly after a string of high-profile coalition strikes that have killed scores of civilians, many of them children.

"The kingdom and member states have recently increased its capabilities to independently supply its aircraft with air-to-air operations in support of legitimacy in Yemen".

Beyond refueling, the United States provides limited intelligence support to the Saudi-led coalition and sells it weaponry used in Yemen's war.

The Saudi-backed Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi appointed a new defence minister to fill a role that had been empty for several years, naming Mohammed al-Maqdishi for the post, according to the state SABA news agency late Wednesday.

The Shiite Houthi rebels on Friday launched fierce barrages of mortar fire as they battled to slow an advance by pro-government forces deeper into the port city of Hodeida, military sources said.

On Wednesday, pro-government forces said they had made further advances on Hodeidah after fierce battles that have killed almost 200 fighters in the past week.

The Saudi-led coalition has been accused of targeting hospitals, water infrastructure, and other civilian targets, and raids on wedding parties and the recent bombing of a school bus have sparked global condemnation.

Last month, Mr Mattis made a surprise call for a ceasefire in Yemen and urged warring parties to enter negotiations within 30 days.

The move also comes after a wave of criticism around the world over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

According to the United Nations, at least 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition entered the conflict.

The Saudi statement on Saturday said the kingdom hoped the upcoming UN-sponsored talks "in a third country" - which have since been delayed till the end of the year - would help end the war.

Human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

The US sees Saudi Arabia as a key ally, especially in terms of providing a counter to Iranian influence in the region.

Latest News