The findings of an assessment team composed of U.S. service members accompanied by personnel from the U.S. Agency for International Development make an evacuation mission for Yazidis who have sought refuge from terrorists on northern Iraq’s Mount Sinjar “far less likely,” Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said yesterday.
The team, which consisted of fewer than 20 personnel, found that far fewer Yazidis are on the mountain than previously believed, in part because of the success of humanitarian airdrops, airstrikes on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant targets, the efforts of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the ability of thousands of Yazidis to evacuate from the mountain each night over the last several days, Kirby said in a statement.
“The Yazidis who remain are in better condition than previously believed and continue to have access to the food and water that we have dropped,” the admiral said. “Based on this assessment, the interagency has determined that an evacuation mission is far less likely.”
The team did not engage in combat operations and returned safely to Irbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan region by military air, the press secretary said, adding that the United States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance as needed and will protect U.S. personnel and facilities.