Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-08-14 06:15:07
A U.S. mission to evacuate Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by Sunni militant fighters is far less likely after a U.S. assessment team sent there on Wednesday found the humanitarian situation not as grave as expected, the Pentagon said.
A team of U.S. military and humanitarian aid personnel sent to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq to assess the situation of thousand of members of the Yazidi religious minority found far fewer people than previously feared and in better condition than expected, the Pentagon said in a statement.
"Based on this assessment," the Pentagon said, "an evacuation mission is far less likely."The Pentagon credited the better-than-expected situation on air drops of food and water, U.S. airstrikes on Sunni militant targets, efforts of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the ability of thousands of Yazidis to evacuate the mountain in recent nights.
The White House said earlier the United States had not ruled out using American ground forces in an operation to extract the trapped civilians, but added the troops would not engage in combat.
The team of fewer than 20 U.S. personnel flew in darkness early in the morning to Mount Sinjar, where thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority fled to escape an advance by Islamic State fighters, a U.S. official said. The team returned safely to the Kurdistan capital of Arbil by military air. More»