Fallon Says U.K. to Send Food Aid to Iraqis Stranded on MountainSvenja O’Donnell
The U.K. will assist the U.S. in its humanitarian mission in Iraq and and food aid to some of Iraq’s displaced minorities, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.
Fallon, speaking after a meeting of the U.K.’s Cobra emergency committee today, said the relief operation will focus on members of the Yezidi religious minority trapped on a mountain. Britain will also provide refueling and surveillance assistance to the U.S.
“We’re offering aid of our own which we hope to drop over the next couple of days in support of the American relief effort, particularly to help the plight of those who are trapped on the mountain,” Fallon said in an interview with BBC television. “Our focus is on assisting that humanitarian mission.”
Iraq is experiencing a growing humanitarian crisis involving religious and ethnic minorities in the north under siege by Islamic State, the extremist Sunni group that threatens the government in Baghdad.
50,000 people, half of them children, have been stranded in mountainous territory after militant advances at Sinjar, near the Syrian border. The people are Yezidis, an ethno-religious minority whose faith includes features of the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, making them apostates in the eyes of Islamic State.