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  • Smoke billows from the site of a Saudi-led air strike on a Houthi position in the Yemeni frontline province of Marib September 15, 2015.

    Smoke billows from the site of a Saudi-led air strike on a Houthi position in the Yemeni frontline province of Marib September 15, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

U.S. drone strikes could be taking a heavier toll on Yemeni civilians than al-Qaida attacks.

The United States may be directly responsible for more civilian deaths in Yemen than al-Qaida over the past year, according to a grim United Nations report released Wednesday.

As many as 40 Yemeni civilians are believed to have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in the war-torn nation over the past 12 months, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concluded in its latest report.

“OHCHR received reliable information indicating that as many as 40 civilians, including a child, may have been killed during the period under review as a result of drone attacks in Al-Baida, Al-Jawf, Marib and Shabwah,” the report stated.

Vice News pointed out in the same report, that the OHCHR noted al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the deaths of around 24 civilians – just over half the number the United States is accused of killing.

Overall, more than 1,500 civilians are estimated to have been killed in Yemen's civil war. Along with fighting between rival Yemeni factions, the country is also facing an intervention led by its neighbor, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have backed ousted Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who was removed from power by the Houthis earlier this year.

The conflict in the country between pro-government forces and rebels escalated in March when Saudi Arabia and 10 of its regional allies started bombing Yemen, aided by United States' logistical and intelligence support.

The Saudis have demanded the Houthi hand back power to Hadi, though the movement remains in control of much of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

RELATED: Why Saudi Arabia is Bombing Yemen

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