World / Middle East

US: Evacuation mission in Iraqi mountain unlikely

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-14 09:21

WASHINGTON - The United States is "far less likely" to carry out an evacuation mission on Mount Sinjar in Iraq after troops assessed the humanitarian situation there, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

US: Evacuation mission in Iraqi mountain unlikely

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, re-enter Iraq from Syria at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour, Dohuk province, August 13, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

There are far fewer Yazidis refugees on Mount Sinjar than previously feared and they are in better condition than previously believed, said Defense Department spokesman John Kirby, adding that the refugees continue to have access to the food and water that the US troops have dropped.

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On Wednesday, a team of less than 20 US personnel conducted an assessment of the situation on Mount Sinjar and the impact of US military actions to date, Kirby said.

The team did not engage in combat operations and all personnel have returned safely by military air to Irbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, the spokesman said.

The United States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance as needed and will protect US personnel and facilities, he added.

The White House said earlier Wednesday that the establishment of humanitarian corridors and airlifts are among options being considered by President Barack Obama to evacuate the Iraqi civilians trapped by the Islamic militants on the mountain.

Benjamin Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said "a lasting solution" was needed even as American warplanes were continuing airdrops of food, water and emergency supplies to the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, an operation that started last Friday and included targeted air raids on militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

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