Thu August 14, 2014
Obama: U.S. To End Aid Drops In Iraq, But Airstrikes To Continue
Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:50 pm
Update at 2:25 p.m. ET.
President Obama says U.S. airstrikes have broken a siege by Islamic militants of minority Yazidis on a mountaintop in northwestern Iraq and it's unlikely that more airdrops of humanitarian aid will be necessary.
"Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL targets around the mountain," where the militant group had laid siege to the Yazidis, he said.
He said U.S. airstrikes against the militants would continue "to protect our people and facilities in Iraq."
The president, speaking from Martha's Vineyard, where the first family is vacationing, said thousands of people had been safely evacuated from Mount Sinjar and that the majority of U.S. personnel involved in the rescue and relief operation would be leaving Iraq within a few days.
"We helped vulnerable people reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives," he said. "Because of these efforts we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain and it's unlikely that we are going to need to continue humanitarian airdrops on the mountain."
Reuters says: "The United States had sent about 130 U.S. military personnel to Arbil to draw up options ranging from creating a safe corridor for the Yazidis to an airlift to rescue them. A team of fewer than 20 U.S. personnel flew to Mount Sinjar to assess the situation."