U.S. Rescue Mission in Iraq Less Likely As Airstrikes Help Free Thousands

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 13 2014 8:39 PM

U.S. Rescue Mission in Iraq Less Likely As Airstrikes Help Free Thousands

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Displaced Iraqi families from the Yazidi community cross the Iraqi-Syrian border on August 13, 2014.

Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

The combination of U.S. airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops to Yazidis stranded on Mount Sinjar in Iraq have been effective enough to make a rescue effort there far less likely, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday. “Hagel said airdrops of food and water had sustained the refugees and that airstrikes on Islamic State militants had allowed many of them to escape,” the Associated Press reports.

Several thousand Yazidis remain on the mountain in northern Iraq, far fewer than the tens of thousands that were reported to be trapped last week, defense officials told the AP. “An initial report from about a dozen Marines and Special Operations forces who spent the last 24 hours on the mountain said that 'the situation is much more manageable,'" a senior defense official told the New York Times.  

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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