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Exclusive: U.S. withdraws staff from Saudi Arabia dedicated to Yemen planning

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Yemen's Conflict
Yemen's Conflict
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The U.S. military has withdrawn from Saudi Arabia its personnel who were coordinating with the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, and sharply reduced the number of staff elsewhere who were assisting in that planning, U.S. officials told Reuters. Fewer than five U.S. service people are now assigned full-time to the 'Joint Combined Planning Cell,' which was established last year to coordinate U.S. support, including air-to-air refueling of coalition jets and limited intelligence-sharing. That is down from a peak of about 45 staff members who were dedicated to the effort full-time in Riyadh and elsewhere. U.S. officials said the reduced staffing is unrelated to the growing international concerns over civilian casualties in the 16-month civil war that has killed more than 6,500 people in Yemen, about half of them civilians.

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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.

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