Kurds receive international aids and forcing IS to retreat
The US and international community have pledged to support the Kurds to fight against the Islamic State (IS previously known as ISIS). The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has also asked the UN, the EU and the US to send humanitarian aid for the Kurdish minority, Yazidi’s, who are trapped in Mount Sinjar after IS advance.
Obama vows to support Kurdistan
US President Barak Obama in a speech outlined the American plan to stop the IS advance towards Erbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region, where many US and foreign diplomats serve in foreign consulates.
The plan consisted of two levels: carrying out “limited” air strikes, and an urgent humanitarian intervention to save thousands of Yazidis from ethnic cleansing.
“Earlier this week, one Iraqi cried that there is no one coming to help,” President Obama said in a somber statement delivered from the State Dining Room. “Well, today America is coming to help.”
“We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad,” said Obama, adding: “We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against the ISIL.”
President Obama announced that Yazidis are in a great danger and called the threat to the trapped people as “genocide”.
“When we have the unique capacity to avert a massacre, the United States cannot turn a blind eye,” Obama said.
Obama called the IS operations as “barbaric”. The IS advance towards Erbil raised an immediate danger for the American personnel, military advisors and foreign diplomats and other citizens who are based in the city.
France expressed its readiness to send military and humanitarian aids to the KRG; Pope of Vatican also expressed his support for the KRG. The US is trying to get other allied countries on board to send aid to the KRG as soon as possible.
Massacre of Yazidis
The actual number of the trapped Kurdish Yazidi’s has not been known precisely. But Kurdish media reported that it is about 150,000 people. More than 10,000 of them have been rescued and settled in the Kurdish district of Zakho which is in the Duhok province.
The Kurdish Peshmarga forces have been trying hard to open a corridor to the mountain and take the trapped people down, who have been suffering from lack of food and drinking water.
On Saturday afternoon, Peshmarga forces succeeded to open the road to the trapped people and thousands of the stranded people came down from the mountain.
Everyone had a sad story to tell. Some Yazidi people who were rescued previously were waiting on the Kurdistan-Syria border to welcome their relatives. Some of them were disappointed because they could not find their relatives and began to cry and collapse.
The rescued people put the number of those who died of starving and thirst at more than 1,000.
While IS fighters seized Sinjar they carried out huge massacre against Yazidi minority and captured around 500 Yazidi girls and imprisoned them.
Some of the trapped Yazidis crossed Syrian border and took refuge in a camp in the Kurdish city of Dirke and prepare to get back to Kurdistan Region through Semilka border entrance.
According to security officials, they had cleared 30 kilometers of the road from IS militants in order to help the people come down from the mountain.
Kurdish officials thank U.S. aids
The Kurdish media outlets have always published the number of the IS terrorist>s casualties, without mentioning any number of the Kurdish Peshmarga forces.
At a press conference in Erbil which was organized for Hoshyar Zebari, Iraqi Foreign Minister, and Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff of the Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzni on Friday night, the latter revealed the casualties of Peshmarga forces since August 2.
“Since August 2 when the IS-Peshmarga clashes errupted, around 150 Peshmarga have been martyred and 500 others injured,” Hussein said.
He stressed that the Kurdish forces have been in the state of alert since IS terrorist forces entered Iraq and seized Mosul and other Sunni-inhabited cities in Iraq.
He also stated that there might have been deficiencies within the Kurdish forces, stressing that the Kurdish leadership will try hard to reorganize as soon as possible.
Hussein expressed gratitude to the US administration for authorizing the US military to support Kurdish Peshmarga forces through limited air strikes to stop the IS advance.
On his part, as the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Zebari stressed his appreciation to the US President Barak Obama, his courageous decision, the US government and the American people to provide humanitarian and military aids to Kurdistan.
The Kurdish Peshmarga forces are considered as the key force to turn the tide against Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and controlling large parts of Iraq. The Peshmarga have won great international support.
The Peshmarga does not have warplanes but it is a formidable ground force. Peshmarga officials have confirmed the forces are now equipped with new heavy and advanced weapons, but they have remained silent about where the weaponry packages are coming from.
U.S. and Peshmarga officials confirm
The US fighter jets pounded IS positions in northwestern Iraq on Friday, August 8, 2014. It came after President Barak Obama authorized air strikes to roll the IS fighters back and stop their advance towards the city of Erbil.
The Kurdish and Iraqi officials confirmed the US air strikes on two Kurdish towns of Makhmour and GWer, which were seized by IS recently, near capital Erbil early on Friday.
“At approximately 2:00 a.m. local time, the US military conducted a targeted air strike against IS terrorists,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed in a statement.
Kirby gave more details about the targeted air strikes and said that two F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a group of mobile artillery pieces near Erbil.
He additionally stated that IS was using this artillery to shell Kurdish Peshmarga forces defending Erbil.
A Kurdish senior commander in Makhmour stressed that Peshmarga forces held back IS advances near the district of Gwer, which is situated 50 km west of Erbil, in heavy clashes in the past few days.
PM Barzani reassures people of Peshmarga
The KRG’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani issued a statement on August 6 reassuring the people of Kurdistan that Peshmarga forces are advancing and will defeat the terrorists, and people should not panic.
He assured the “beloved” people of Kurdistan that the Peshmarga forces are advancing on the Sinjar front and have defeated the IS militants.
He further announced that the KRG with its faith in Peshmarga forces promises the people of Kurdistan that it will not allow terrorists to defile the sacred land of Kurdistan nor hinder the continuation of life here.
Barzani asked the youths to keep their spirits and morale as high as before. “We should all believe in our legitimate cause,” he said.
France join US in Iraq aid delivery
President Francois Hollande assured the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, by phone that the aid was on its way, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.
Hollande «reaffirmed the will of France to stand by the side of civilian victims of continued attacks» by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, the Elysee said.
He also «underlined his determination to mobilize the international community and said he had asked the European Union to take necessary measures with great urgency to respond to immediate humanitarian needs.»
The UN Security Council on Thursday called on the international community to support the Iraqi government as it tries to counter the sweeping gains made by IS in the north of the country.
Hollande echoed statements from US President Barack Obama that the crisis required political solutions, saying there was an urgent need for «a government of national unity» to be established in Iraq.