Another 130 US military personnel in Iraq including Marines and Special Forces to assist Iraqi army


Defence & Security News - United States

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 09:51 AM
Another 130 US military personnel in Iraq including Marines and Special Forces to assist Iraqi army.
Another 130 US military personnel have arrived in Iraq including Marines and special operations forces whose mission was to assess the situation in the Sinjar area and to develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond current US efforts there.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, appearing on Australian television, outlines the U.S. mission in Iraq.
Hagel Discusses U.S. Iraq Mission / SGT Adam Ross (DVIDS) / Public Domain Mark 1.0
The 130 troops, who are in addition to 250 US military advisers already in Baghdad and Erbil, arrived on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, in the city of Erbil, well east of Sinjar.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the new detachment arrived Tuesday in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where it will help develop options to rescue a large group of civilians besieged by the Sunni terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

He repeated that there would be no American combat troops in Iraq and restated President Barack Obama’s belief that only a new, inclusive Iraqi government could end the crisis there.

Obama has asked for an international effort to rescue a large number of Yazidis, the Iraqi religious minority besieged by ISIL at Mount Sinjar in the northwest.

The U.S. Air Force and the Navy have been helping the Yazidis with humanitarian airdrops and by attacking the ISIL fighters from whom the civilians fled up the mountainside

The U.K. government also announced it was sending several Chinook transport helicopters to the region—a move that would position British forces to help rescue Yazidi refugees struggling to survive in the mountain range.

Since Thursday, August 7, U.S. military planes have been dropping tons of food and water for thousands of Yazidis forced into the mountains by militants from the Islamic State. The U.K. has recently joined in the airdrops, and Australia is expected to join in the effort in the coming days.

At the same time, U.S. jet fighters and armed drones have repeatedly hit Islamic State forces near Mount Sinjar and halted efforts by the fighters to advance on the stranded Yazidi refugees. The latest strike came Tuesday when an American drone destroyed an Islamic State mortar position firing on Iraqi forces protecting Yazidis trying to get to safety.

The Iraqi military has joined the effort by dispatching helicopters to drop small amounts of water and rescue dozens of desperate refugees.