MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti) – A possible US mission to evacuate refugees stranded on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar is unlikely to take place, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
According to the statement, a team of US military personnel, accompanied by US Agency for International Development (USAID), on Wednesday conducted an assessment of the situation on Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis have been trapped by Islamic State (IS) insurgents.
The US troops “assessed that there are far fewer Yazidis on Mt. Sinjar than previously feared in part because of the success of humanitarian air drops” and that the refugees are “in better condition than previously believed,” Kirby said.
“Based on this assessment the interagency has determined that an evacuation mission is far less likely,” according to the spokesman.
The Pentagon said earlier it had sent 130 military advisers to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, in addition to the 250 who are already on the ground in northern Iraq.
Washington has been providing humanitarian aid to Yazidi Kurds, a religious minority in northern Iraq fleeing from Islamic State militants' onslaught. The US Air Force has also been bombing IS targets and helping to ship weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling the extremists.
The Islamic State is a Sunni group, formerly known as ISIS, which has been fighting in Syria and launched an offensive in Iraq in June. The group has taken over large parts of the country, with the goal of seizing Baghdad. Also in June, insurgents announced the establishment of a caliphate on the Iraq-Syria border.