Pentagon Considering Iraq Rescue Mission for Trapped Yazidis

Image: Pentagon Considering Iraq Rescue Mission for Trapped Yazidis Iraqi Yazidis, who fled their homes a week ago when ISIS militants attacked the town of Sinjar. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 02:42 PM

By Melanie Batley

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
President Barack Obama is considering a range of military options, including airlifts and creating safe passages, for rescuing thousands of Iraqi refugees trapped on a mountain, and is expected to make a decision in days, the White House said Wednesday.

A U.S. military-led rescue mission on Sinjar Mountain could involve putting American troops on the ground. But the White House insisted that their mission would be strictly a humanitarian rescue and would not constitute a return to combat 2½ years after the last U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq.

"We don't believe that involves U.S. troops re-entering a combat role in Iraq," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser. "It involves frankly a very difficult logistical challenge of moving folks who are in danger on that mountain into a safer position."

The U.S. has been delivering food and water to the refugees for several days. But Rhodes said it was unsustainable to let thousands of people remain on the mountain.

"There needs to be a lasting solution that gets that population to a safe space where they can receive more permanent assistance," he told reporters traveling with the president during his vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard.

The Pentagon sent 129 U.S. troops to Iraq on Tuesday to assess the scope of the humanitarian crisis and the options for getting them safely off the mountain. Rhodes said that given the urgency of the situation, Obama was expected to receive their final recommendations quickly and make a decision within days.

Thousands of Iraqi religious minorities sought refuge on Sinjar Mountain after militants from the Islamic State group swept through their village in northern Iraq. In addition to the humanitarian aid drops, the U.S. has conducted airstrikes against Islamic State targets, both to protect American personnel in the region and stop the militants from moving on the civilians again.

Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq, where nearly 4,500 Americans were killed during the eight year war that ended in 2011.

Rhodes suggested the U.S. would undertake a rescue mission with help from allies, including Kurdish forces that are receiving arms from the U.S., and the British.

British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed Wednesday that his country stood ready to assist with that effort.

"We need a plan to get these people off that mountain and get them to a place of safety," he said. "Detailed plans are now being put in place and are underway and that Britain will play a role in delivering them."

The British military has already joined the U.S. in delivering supplies to the mountain in recent days. Rhodes noted that there have also been offers of humanitarian assistance from France, Canada and Australia.

The White House has not said specifically how many people they believe to be on the mountain, though estimates range in the tens of thousands. Rhodes said several thousand have escaped, but the U.S. is seeking a more firm estimate from the assessment team now on the ground.

The Pentagon said the assessment team was transported to the mountain by a small number of V-22 Osprey aircraft from Irbil, capital of the largely autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region.

The assessment team joins 90 U.S. military advisers already in Baghdad and 160 in a pair of operations centers — one in Irbil and one in Baghdad, the central government's capital — working with Iraqi security forces.

They were in addition to about 455 U.S. security forces and 100 military personnel working in the Office of Security Cooperation in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Related Stories:


© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Report: White House Expects 'Surge' of Immigrants

Sunday, 19 Oct 2014 23:36 PM

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a draft solicitation for immigrant identification cards that . . .

Obama: Republicans 'Just Have Bad Ideas'

Sunday, 19 Oct 2014 22:59 PM

Marching onto the campaign trail for the first time this year, President Barack Obama cast Democrats' success in this ye . . .

Sources: 'Trench Warfare' Ahead for Church Over Marriage, Family

Sunday, 19 Oct 2014 22:32 PM

Pressure from Catholic Church leaders closely allied to Pope Francis on changing the church's approach to marriage and t . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved