Houthi rebels put child soldiers on front line

The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, were in forward and rear lines, 30 yards apart, in the hills that divide the desert plains. The capital Sanaa lies to the west and the city of Marib to the east.

The United Nations was able to verify 2,721 children recruited to fight for all sides in the conflict, the large majority for the Houthis, but officials say that count is likely low, because many families will not speak about the issue out of fear of reprisals from Houthi militiamen.

Some of the children joined the rebels willingly, mainly because of promises of money or the chance to carry a weapon. But others described being forced into the service of the Houthis — abducted from schools or homes or coerced into joining in exchange for a family member’s release from detention.