Military advisers sent to northern Iraq this week to assess a potential rescue mission to save thousands of Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar have determined that an evacuation is now "far less likely," citing the success of American airstrikes on the region and successful relief efforts.
"The team has assessed that there are far fewer Yazidis on Mt. Sinjar than previously feared, in part because of the success of humanitarian air drops, air strikes on ISIL targets, the efforts of the Peshmerga and the ability of thousands of Yazidis to evacuate from the mountain each night over the last several days," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John 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."
Administration officials said that several thousand Yazidis remained on the mountain, not the tens of thousands who originally were there. Some of the people on Mount Sinjar indicated to American forces that they considered the mountain to be a place of refuge and a home and did not want to leave, a second United States official said. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
According to the Times, the advisers' assessment comes ahead of a planned report by security advisers outlining a potential rescue operation for President Obama.
[Image via AP]