The recent air attacks by the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates-led military coalition have killed several Yemenis, which has been condemned by the civilians across the world, as well as the United Nations (UN).
While the US-backed Saudi-led coalition airstrike caused most direct civilian casualties, the Defense Secretary, James Mattis stated that the US support for the UAE and Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen was not unconditional.
However, he did suggested that the country would work to reduce fallout on civilians, while it continues to support the alliance. Mattis held a rare press conference on Tuesday, where several questions were asked about the US support for the war on Yemen.
He informed the reporters that the US, along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has been working to improve airstrike targeting, and that it is aware that tragedies have occurred.
Mattis said, “We recognise every mistake like this is tragic in every way, but we have not seen any callous disregard by the people we’re working with. So we will continue to work with them.”
According to him, the US is regularly reviewing its support for the coalition. Besides, it will continue to put efforts to limit the deaths of civilians.
“Our conduct there is to try to keep the human cost of innocents being killed accidentally to the absolute minimum […] Our goal is to reduce this tragedy and to get it to the UN-brokered table as quickly as possible,” he said.
Mattis’ comments came few hours after the UN released a report, which said that all sides in Yemen conflict may have committed war crimes including deadly air attacks, rampant sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers.
According to the report, the coalition airstrikes have caused the most direct civilian casualties, as they have hit residential areas, markets, weddings, funerals, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities.
The Saudi Arabia and UAE-led military alliance has been at war with Houthi rebels since March 2015. According to the UN, at least 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict. However, analysts believe that the death toll may be much higher.
While the US and the UK have not been involved directly in any of the fighting, they have sold weapons, including some of the warplanes and the payloads, of over $12 billion to Saudi alone.
Earlier this month, the Saudi-UAE coalition in an air attack hit a bus in a busy market, which caused casualties of dozens Yemenis. As per the reports, amongst them, at least 29 were children.
Apart from Saudi and UAE coalition, several human rights groups across the world have been criticizing the United States and other western powers for providing arms and intelligence to the alliance. The US, on the other hand, is coercing the Saudi government to conduct a complete investigation on what went wrong.
While several civilians are being killed, will the situation get any better with the continued support of the US to the alliance?