The US will no longer refuel Saudi aircraft conducting strike missions over Yemen, US and Saudi officials said Friday.
The move is expected to have minimal impact on the Saudi effort because the US was only providing refueling for some 20% of Saudi aircraft.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen issued a statement on Friday confirming the decision, saying the cessation of aerial refueling was made at the request of the coalition due to improvements in their own refueling capabilities.
CNN reports “Recently the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) and the Coalition has increased its capability to independently conduct inflight refuelling in Yemen. As a result, in consultation with the United States, the Coalition has requested cessation of inflight refueling support for its operations in Yemen,” the statement said.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis also confirmed the decision in a statement issued later on Friday.