United States to stop refueling planes in Yemen war

Amid Saudi-led bombing Pompeo pins responsibility for starvation in Yemen… on Iran

The Saudi and UAE-led war in Yemen has caused growing global unease after high-profile coalition air strikes that have killed scores of civilians, many of them children.

Earlier in the day, Saudi media reported that the coalition had requested the United States to halt aerial refuelling of the coalition's aircraft, specifying that the decision had been made following consultations with Washington.

The Reuters news agency says the United States may stop refuelling aircrafts from the Saudi-Emirati coalition fighting in Yemen.

A statement, released by the Saudi Press agency, said Saudi Arabia and its allies were able to "increase their capacity" of refuelling their aircrafts, and will do so independently.

"The U.S. will also continue working with the coalition and Yemen to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country", he continued.

According to US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, the decision to end the refueling arrangement came from the Saudis, though it followed a period of intense scrutiny of Washington's ties to Riyadh and the war it is waging.

The change comes at a time of global outrage over the killing of USA -based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican lawmakers threatened to address the refueling operations next week in Congress.

Colonel Ahmad Ali al-Johayli, head of the Giants Brigade, said that the Yemeni army forces advanced in the northern and western parts of Hodeidah with the support of the Arab Coalition.

The Pentagon has provided refueling capabilities for about 20 percent of coalition planes flying sorties over Yemen.

He said the U.S. will continue working with the coalition to minimise civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts in Yemen.

Yemeni government forces backed by the coalition pressed farther into Hodeida, seizing its main hospital in heavy fighting on Saturday, as they shrugged off the end to United States refuelling support.

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

It also said it hoped upcoming United Nations sponsored talks "in a third country" would help end the war.

Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, has stood on the brink of starvation and faced disease outbreaks in a conflict that has killed at least 10,000 people.

United Nations agencies say some 14 million people are at risk of famine in the country - described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with the World Food Programme saying it will almost double food aid to the country to avert "mass starvation". He told them cutting off support could jeopardize cooperation on counterterrorism and reduce American influence with Saudi Arabia.

On Friday medical sources said that 110 Huthi rebels and 22 pro-government forces had been killed in 24 hours of violence, bringing to at least 382 the number of combatants killed since the battle for Hodeida intensified on November 1.



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