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Western military involvement in Iraq deepening

IS takes more territory in Syria

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Posted on: 
14 Aug 2014
Western military involvement in Iraq deepening

A Pentagon spokesman announced on Wednesday that following an assessment by US personnel of the conditions on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, it is unlikely that American forces will lead a mission to evacuate civilians trapped there by forces of the Islamic State (IS, formally ISIS) terror militia. The assessment team concluded that many of the Yazidi refugees which had been on the mountain until recently have already escaped and those who remain have access to air dropped food and water. Meanwhile, France and the UK are both stepping up their assistance to the Kurdish forces battling IS in northern Iraq, including with shipments of weapons which, according to a French government statement, are being coordinated with the regime in Baghdad. Meanwhile, terrorist attacks in the Iraqi capital are increasing in frequency and size, killing dozens of people this week as the government struggles to emerge from a political crisis and confront the multi-faceted threats to the country.

Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is still refusing to leave office despite his replacement having been named and endorsed by almost every major party in Iraq and the surrounding countries, as well as the US.

“This constitutional violation ... will be yield more damage than of the state collapse that took place in Ninevah,” al-Maliki said during his weekly address Wednesday.

Around 1,000 US troops are now on the ground in northern Iraq, carrying out offensive kinetic and humanitarian missions in coordination with the Kurdish Pehmerga fighters. On Tuesday, they were joined by several helicopters and Osprey transport aircraft.

“They will stay there until they are no longer required,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. “There is no timeline.”

“Make no mistake ... these personnel are in Iraq where there is unrest and there is an active enemy,” he continued. “That said, their purpose is [to] assess ... options for humanitarian assistance [in Irbil]. In Baghdad, their purpose is to assess the capability of the Iraqi security forces.”

Here are two videos giving more details and analysis of the current situation





Meanwhile, IS fighters made more gains in Syria, taking control of several villages in Aleppo province from rival Islamist groups and setting up a showdown later in the month with forces from the Assad regime who have been steadily advancing against rebel factions in the region and have now almost encircled Aleppo city.

 

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