The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen is opting to refuel its aircraft independently going forward, ending a controversial collaboration with USA military assets.
The move, announced by the coalition on Saturday and confirmed by Washington, comes at a time when Riyadh, already under scrutiny for civilian deaths in Yemen air strikes, is facing global furore and potential sanctions over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate on October 2.
The Pentagon had provided refueling capabilities for about 20 percent of coalition planes flying sorties over Yemen.
Any coordinated decision by Washington and Riyadh to halt to refueling could be an attempt by both countries to forestall further action by Congress.More news: ‘Crackdown’ is free on Xbox One right now
Countries around the world have been under increased pressure to suspend existing and future weapons deals with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case, as well as in relation to Riyadh's role in the devastating war in Yemen.
U.S. officials told Reuters only a fifth of Saudi-led coalition aircraft require in-air refuelling from the United States.
Yemeni forces managed to kill and capture dozens of Houthi fighters who lost their strategic positions within the city of Hodeidah. The experts documented 6,475 deaths from March 2015 until last June, but said the real figure is likely to be significantly higher.
The Saudi-led coalition has been accused of targeting hospitals, water infrastructure, and other civilian targets, and raids on wedding parties and the recent bombing of a school bus have sparked global condemnation.
Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab coalition that is supporting the international-recognised government, but its air campaign has cost the lives of thousands of civilians.
United Nations agencies say some 14 million people are at risk of famine in the country - described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with the World Food Programme saying it will almost double food aid to the country to avert "mass starvation".More news: Traces of acid, chemicals found in Saudi consul’s home
Saudi strikes have hit public markets, hospitals and other nonmilitary targets, killing scores of civilians.
The United Nations has now pushed that deadline back to the end of the year.
The coalition expressed hope in its statement that his efforts would lead to a negotiated settlement, including an end to Houthi missile attacks that have targeted Saudi cities and vessels off the port of Hodeidah. "We support the decision by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia", he said.
In Friday's statement, he said, "The US will also continue working with the Coalition and Yemen to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country".
However, Griffiths' effort to revive peace talks in September fell through after the Houthis failed to attend, arguing they didn't have guarantees for their safe return.More news: Emma Stone's name change inspired by Emma 'Baby Spice' Bunton