The laws of war prohibit deliberate attacks on civilian objects, attacks that do not discriminate between military targets and civilian objects, and attacks that disproportionately harm civilian objects compared to the expected military gain of the attack.
Civilian objects include factories, warehouses and other commercial enterprises so long as they are not being used for military purposes or become a military objective.
The United States has been a party to the conflict since the first months of the fighting.
In June 2015, a US military spokesperson stated that the United States was helping the coalition with“intelligence support and intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, advisory support, and logistical support, to include aerial refueling with up to two tanker sorties a day.” In May 2016, the US acknowledged that it had deployed troops in Yemen in a combat role against AQAP.
This report is based on Human Rights Watch field research in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and the governorate of Hodaida in March 2016.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 37 witnesses at the sites, searched for possible military targets in the vicinity, and examined remnants of munitions found.
The report also includes details of previously documented airstrikes on civilian economic structures.
Houthi forces and their allies are also parties to the conflict, notably military forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was compelled to leave office in February 2012.
Other forces involved in the conflict include pro-coalition militias in southern Yemen and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Airstrikes have damaged or destroyed numerous civilian objects including homes, markets, hospitals, and schools, as well as commercial enterprises, the subject of this report.