RIYADH - The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen on Monday accused the United Nations of "biased" reports on air strikes that allegedly killed dozens of children in rebel-held areas.

"The coalition is surprised by the ... biased positions of some reports," said coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki, adding that the information was "prejudiced" and based on "rebel stories".

The coalition has not confirmed or denied it carried out two air raids on Thursday that the UN said killed at least 26 children and four women south of the flashpoint rebel-held city of Hodeida.

The UN Security Council had already called for a "credible" investigation into a strike blamed on the coalition in northernYemen on August 9 that the Red Cross said killed 40 children. The coalition has announced its own probe into that raid. Two UN officials have made public statements condemning the attacks.

"We all know that UN bodies are under pressure by the Huthi militias ... and these reports may have come in response to that pressure," Maliki said. "There is no war without collateral damage."

Saudi Arabia and its allies have fought the Huthis since 2015 in an attempt to restore Yemen's internationally recognised government to power and push back the rebels, who still hold the capital Sanaa. The war has left nearly 10,000 people dead and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland refused to give ground in a dispute with Saudi Arabia on Monday, saying her country would "always stand up for human rights around the world". While she did not cite the kingdom by name, Freeland told a gathering of German diplomats in Berlin that "Canada will always stand up for human rights around the world, very much including women's rights."

That would hold true "even when we are told to mind our own business, or that matters such as these should only be discussed in private, between leaders, behind closed doors. And even when speaking up brings consequences," she added.

Ottawa and Riyadh are at loggerheads over Canadian criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

Earlier this month the Saudi government expelled Canada's ambassador, recalled its own envoy and froze all new trade and investments after the North American nation denounced a crackdown on rights activists there.

"We count on and hope for Germany's support" in defending human rights, Freeland added.