Mattis: US still backs Saudi coalition to limit Yemen deaths

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Mattis: US still backs Saudi coalition to limit Yemen deaths
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. hasn’t seen any “callous disregard” for innocent lives by the Saudi Arabia-led fight in Yemen, despite a new U.N. report outlining possible war crimes, rape and torture by the American-supported coalition.

Mattis says the U.S. has been working with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to improve airstrike targeting and recognizes that tragedies have occurred. He says the U.S. is working to end that by constantly reviewing its support for the coalition. Mattis says the U.S. will continue to do all it can to limit civilian deaths.

A report for the U.N.’s Human Rights Council says the governments of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia may have been responsible for war crimes during 3½ years of fighting against rebels there.