ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) recently began an offensive on Sinjar, a city in the north western region of Nineveh in Iraq and home to at least 200,000 of the world’s 700,000 members of the Yazidi faith. While most fled to refugee camps in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, some 30,000 families ended up on Mount Sinjar, where they are now stranded, surrounded by jihadists.
U.S. military cargo planes airdropped 5,300 gallons of water and 8,000 meals onto Mount Sinjar, where it has been reported some Yazidi children had died from dehydration.
The British government said Friday it would support the U.S. humanitarian effort and planned airdrops of its own.
Meanwhile, the United Nations in Iraq was “urgently preparing a humanitarian corridor to allow those in need to flee the areas under threat,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the special representative to the U.N. secretary-general.
After the airdrops, President Obama then authorized “targeted airstrikes” against ISIS. The militant group’s new, abbreviated name, Islamic State, reflects its goal to establish a Sunni caliphate stretching from Syria to Baghdad. Obama made clear he had no intention of sending in ground forces.