U.S. Army Special Forces have secretly deployed to Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen to help battle Houthi rebels, U.S. media reported on Thursday.
In what it called “a continuing escalation of America’s secret wars,” the New York Times, citing U.S., European and Arab officials, reported that a team of about a dozen U.S. Army Green Beret commandos arrived at the border region in December.
“The U.S. Special Forces are providing training and helping the Saudi military locate and destroy missile caches and launch sites that Houthi rebels have used to attack cities in the kingdom.
“The team is closely coordinating with U.S. intelligence analysts in the Saudi city of Najran to try to locate Houthi missile sites in Yemen,’’ the report added.
The Pentagon has said that the U.S. military’s involvement in Yemen is limited to aircraft refuelling missions, intelligence sharing and other logistical support.
Lawmakers have pressed President Donald Trump’s administration to reveal more about the Pentagon’s mission in Yemen, and some have proposed legislation that would limit U.S. involvement in the conflict.
Since March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at the request of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Human rights organisations have criticised the Saudi-led coalition for engaging in indiscriminate bombings during which thousands of civilians have been killed.
According to the UN, a record 22 million people in Yemen, or 75 per cent of the population, remain in need of immediate humanitarian aid.
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