Barack Obama: 'We helped innocent people reach safety and
we helped save many innocent lives.' Photo Reuters
US President Barack Obama says the Islamist militant
siege of Iraq's Mt Sinjar has been broken and most of the US
military personnel sent to assess the situation will be pulled
out of Iraq in the coming days.
Obama, in a briefing to reporters, said he did not expect the
United States to have to stage an evacuation of the mountain,
where thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority
had been trapped by militants, or to continue humanitarian
"We broke the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)
siege of Mt Sinjar," Obama said.
"We helped innocent people reach safety and we helped save
many innocent lives. 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.
"The majority of the military personnel who conducted the
assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days," he said.
The United States had sent about 130 US 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 US personnel flew to Mt Sinjar to assess the
Obama said the United States would continue airstrikes to
protect US facilities in Iraq and called on Iraqis to unite
to defeat Islamist insurgents.