Last week, media outlets started discussing the yet-to-be-released UN report on Children and Armed Conflict, with a focus on the large number of children killed in Yemen in 2017. 67% of the children killed were killed by the Saudi-led coalition, overwhelmingly in airstrikes.
Such UN reports have heavily faulted the Saudis and their coalition the last two years, and led to angry backlashes from Saudi diplomats, who pushed to get the reports retracted. This year looks to be no different, with the coalition already contesting the report, even though it isn’t officially released yet.
Col. Turki al-Maliki, Saudi coalition spokesman, insisted that the report is based on “unreliable facts,” and claimed that all of the children killed were actually Houthi rebels. He further insisted that their deaths were solely the fault of the Houthis for recruiting them in the first place.
In reality, only a handful of the slain children were combatants recruited to either side. The children killed in the war were predominantly civilian bystanders, killed in airstrikes against civilian homes, hospitals, and schools in Shi’ite parts of the country.