The United States is considering airstrikes on groups of Islamists who have driven tens of thousands of Iraqis up the side of a mountain, where they are stuck without food and shelter. Meanwhile, airlifts of food are being organized to help the Yazidis, a group that the Islamists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) consider “pagan heretics.”
Some 200,000 of the group are said to have fled the town of Sinjar and surrounding villages and fled for the forests and the Turkish border. About 40,000 are said to be stranded on Mount Sinjar, exposed to the elements. The US said it was concerned that they would be subject to genocide.
A White House spokesperson said that President Barack H. Obama was weighing a number of options. The situation is nearing "a humanitarian catastrophe," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "We are gravely concerned for their health and safety." If there is a US military intervention, however, it would be "very limited in scope. There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq,” he said.
In light of the latest developments in Iraq, US oil company Chevron said that it was evacuating staff. Exxon said that it was preparing to do so, but had not made a final decision yet.
Meanwhile, Sunni fanatics captured Qaraqosh, prompting many residents to flee. As Christians, the residents of the town would be given the option to save themselves – by converting to Islam, or agreeing to live under “dhimmi” status, a low-caste social standing under which non-Muslims generally have to give up a third to three quarters of their income in taxes to the ruling Muslim group.
France called on the UN Security Council to meet over the matter. The Council has yet to respond.