WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC NEWS) — A U.S. rescue operation in Iraq may not happen. A new military report shows the situation at the top of the Sinjar Mountains may not be as grave as first reported. About 20 U.S. military members went to assess the situation on that mountain in Northwest Iraq. They say they found those trapped doing better than initially thought and steps taken so far have been successful. U.S. Special Forces atop Sinjar Mountain found fewer Yazidi refugees than expected. The numbers estimated in the tens of thousands now appear to be far less.
Humanitarian food and water drops are helping to keep the refugees alive, the U.S. conducted it’s seventh airdrop last night and airstrikes pushed ISIS militants back.
“Airstrikes, I think, are appropriate given the limited mission the president has discussed,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (D) Maryland.
The White House considered airlifting refugees trapped on the mountain, but now U.S. officials say rescue operations are less likely and so are boots on the ground.
“You look at different ways to move people who are in a very dangerous place on that mountain to a safer position and that’s exactly what our team is doing on the ground now in Iraq,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
Yazidis’ relatives fear there is no safe way out.
“They cannot move freely in long convoy as they used to,” said Haider Elias, has relatives in Iraq.
ISIS remains committed to terrorizing the country’s religious minority.
“We cannot lose sight of the fact that this is the greatest security threat we have ever had,” said U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, (R) North Carolina.
A threat that requires U.S. and international involvement. France is sending weapons to Kurdish fighters, Britain will help transport them and Germany is sending other supplies.