UK probes 257 alleged human rights abuses by Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

Over 250 alleged breaches of humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is being investigated, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said.

The Government has faced repeated calls to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia after "repeated and serious breaches" of alleged human rights abuses.

However the UK has continued to allow sales, with more than £3.3 billion of arms licensed since the bombing campaign began in March 2015.

A Yemeni man displays an American-made cluster bomb. Britain has signed an international treaty banning their use. Credit: AP

On Thursday, defence giant BAE Systems announced their profits rose 13% to £1.9 billion last year after reaping the benefit of its weaponry and aircraft being used in war-torn Syria and Yemen.

Responding to a question from the SNP's Margaret Ferrier, Sir Michael Fallon said: "The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is tracking 257 allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

"Details of the MoD's analysis of these allegations are necessarily confidential."

A Yemeni man walks near a painting of US drone on the wall in Sanaa, Yemen. Credit: AP

Ministers on Thursday also confirmed that UK-built and licensed Typhoon and Tornado aircraft have been used in combat missions.

Defence minister Harriet Baldwin said: "UK-built and licensed Typhoon and Tornado aircraft from the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) have been deployed on combat missions in the Yemen campaign."

The UN estimates up to 10,000 people have died in Yemen since March 2015, and some 18.8 million people - or more than two-thirds of the population - are said to need humanitarian aid as a result of the conflict.