On 7 August 2014, the U.S. President, "Barack Obama, stated that the U.S. was starting air strikes to prevent a potential massacre ("genocide) by ISIL of thousands of "Yazidis trapped in the "Sinjar Mountains. Obama further defended his decision by saying:
The world is confronted by many challenges. And while America has never been able to right every wrong, America has made the world a more secure and prosperous place. And our leadership is necessary to underwrite the global security and prosperity that our children and our grandchildren will depend upon. We do so by adhering to a set of core principles.
We do whatever is necessary to protect our people. We support our allies when they're in danger. We lead coalitions of countries to uphold international norms. And we strive to stay true to the fundamental values – the desire to live with basic freedom and dignity – that is common to human beings wherever they are. That's why people all over the world look to the United States of America to lead. And that's why we do it.
On 8 August 2014, US airstrikes were launched in the "Erbil area, 180 km east of Sinjar. The first airstrikes in the Mount Sinjar area were reported on 9 August, when the US launched four strikes against armored fighting vehicles of ISIL fighters threatening civilians on Mount Sinjar. The continued Iraqi airdrops of food and water in the Sinjar Mountains and their picking up of some Yazidis were also backed up by the U.S. airstrikes.
After their air strikes, the U.S. government pondered until 13 August on the possibilities and necessity of a rescue operation with U.S. ground troops or U.S. airlifts.
Kurdish PKK and Syrian Kurdish YPG clearing a path for Yazidis
Between 9 and 11 August 2014, a safe corridor was established from the mountain enabling 10,000 people to evacuate on the first day. Kurdish fighters of "Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) entered the "Sinjar Mountains with trucks and tractors to carry out the sick and elderly into Syria via a path that was cleared by Syrian Kurdish militants ("YPG). According to Dr. Salim Hassan, a professor at the University of "Sulaymaniyah and spokesman of the uprooted Yazidis, the "PKK and YPG enabled an estimated 35,000 of the initially 50,000 trapped Yazidis to escape into Syria. According to the account of the Sinjar District Governor, the route was jointly set up by Iraqi Kurdish security forces (Peshmerga) and the YPG.
Mountain siege ends, U.S. rescue mission canceled
On 12 or 13 August 2014, a dozen U.S. Marines and special forces servicemen landed on Mount Sinjar from V-22 aircraft to assess options for a potential rescue of Yazidi refugees joining British SAS already in the area. They reported that "the situation is much more manageable", that there were now far fewer Yazidis on the mountain than expected, and that those Yazidis were in relatively good condition. A U.S. rescue mission for those still on the mountain was therefore "far less likely now", said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The U.S. government officially declared the siege to be broken on 13 August 2014. This was reportedly done by U.S airstrikes and Kurdish fighters of the "People's Protection Units from Syria, together with their "PKK allies from Turkey, allowing more than 50,000 refugees to escape. Despite this, according to professor Salim Hassan, between 5,000 and 10,000 people still remained trapped in the mountains. They were reportedly afraid to return to their homes and were sustained in the coming months by airdrops from a lone Iraqi helicopter.
Western military response
On 7 August 2014, U.S. President Obama ordered targeted airstrikes on IS militants and emergency air relief for the Yazidis. Airstrikes began on 8 August. (See "American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–present) § Obama authorizes airstrikes.)
On 8 August 2014, the US asserted that the systematic destruction of the Yazidi people by the Islamic State was genocide.
President "Barack Obama had authorized the attacks to protect Yazidis but also Americans and Iraqi minorities. President Obama gave an assurance that no troops would be deployed for combat. Along with the airstrikes of 9 August, the US "airdropped 3,800 gallons of water and 16,128 "MREs. Following these actions, the United Kingdom and France stated that they also would begin airdrops.
On 10 August 2014, at approximately 2:15 a.m. ET, the US carried out five additional airstrikes on armed vehicles and a mortar position, enabling 20,000–30,000 Yazidi Iraqis to flee into Syria and later be rescued by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish forces then provided shelter for the Yazidis in "Dohuk.
On 13 August 2014, fewer than 20 "United States Special Forces troops stationed in Irbil along with "British Special Air Service troops visited the area near Mount Sinjar to gather intelligence and plan the evacuation of approximately 30,000 Yazidis still trapped on Mount Sinjar. One hundred and twenty-nine additional US military personnel were deployed to Irbil to assess and provide a report to President Obama. The United States Central Command also reported that a seventh airdrop was conducted and that to date, 114,000 meals and more than 35,000 gallons of water had been airdropped to the displaced Yazidis in the area.
In a statement on 14 August 2014, "The Pentagon said that the 20 US personnel who had visited the previous day had concluded that a rescue operation was probably unnecessary since there was less danger from exposure or dehydration and the Yazidis were no longer believed to be at risk of attack from ISIL. Estimates also stated that 4,000 to 5,000 people remained on the mountain, with nearly half of them being Yazidi "herders who lived there before the siege.
Kurdish officials and Yazidi refugees stated that thousands of young, elderly, and disabled individuals on the mountain were still vulnerable, with the governor of Kurdistan's "Dahuk province, Farhad Atruchi, saying that the assessment was "not correct" and that although people were suffering, "the international community is not moving".
- "United Nations – On 13 August 2014, the United Nations declared the Yazidi crisis a highest-level "Level 3 Emergency", saying that the declaration "will facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements". On 19 March 2015, a United Nations panel concluded that ISIL "may have committed" genocide against the Yazidis with an investigation head, Suki Nagra, stating that the attacks on the Yazidis "were not just spontaneous or happened out of the blue, they were clearly orchestrated".
- "Arab League – On 11 August 2014, the "Arab League accused ISIL of committing "crimes against humanity by persecuting the Yazidis.
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- "Defend International launched a worldwide campaign entitled "Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now" to raise awareness about the tragedy of the Yazidis in Sinjar. DI president "Widad Akrawi dedicated her "2014 International Pfeffer Peace Award "to all victims of persecution, particularly the Yazidis, Christians, and all residents of "Kobanê region."
- The British "Stop the War Coalition opposed the intervention on Sinjar.
Hundreds and possibly thousands of Yazidis have taken refuge in neighboring "Turkey, where they are being sheltered in refugee camps in the city of "Silopi. The Turkish Disaster Relief Agency (AFAD) has begun preparations to set up camps for receiving 6,000 refugees from "Iraq. The number of Yazidi refugees in Turkey has reached 14 thousand by August 30.
Turkey has also airdropped humanitarian aid to Yazidi refugees within Iraq. However, neither Iraq nor the Iraqi Kurdistan confirmed Turkey's humanitarian aids.
Aftermath – new siege
After August 2014, ISIL held onto the town of "Sinjar. Several thousand or around 10,000 "Yazidis remained in the "Sinjar Mountains located to the city’s north, sustained by airdrops from a lone Iraqi helicopter, while an escape road from the mountains northward to Kurdish areas was under Kurdish/Yazidi control. American officials said that some of those Yazidis considered the Sinjar Mountains a place of refuge and home and did not want to leave; while a report from The New Yorker said some were afraid to return to their homes. Other Yazidis also came to the mountains after the August evacuations.
On 21 October, ISIL seized terrain north of the mountains, thus cutting the area's escape route to Kurdish areas. The Yazidi militias then withdrew from there into the Sinjar Mountains, where the number of Yazidi civilian refugees was estimated at 2,000–7,000. The mountains had once again been partially besieged by ISIL.
On 17 December, "Peshmerga forces, backed by 50 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on ISIL positions, launched an offensive to liberate Sinjar and to break that partial ISIL siege of the Sinjar Mountains. In less than two days, the "Peshmerga seized the mountain range. After ISIL forces retreated, Kurdish fighters were initially faced with clearing out mines around the area, but quickly opened a land corridor to those mountains, enabling Yazidis to be evacuated. The operation left 100 ISIL fighters dead.
Late on 21 December, Syrian Kurdish "YPG fighters south of the mountain range reached Peshmerga lines, thus linking their two fronts. The next day, the YPG broke through ISIL lines, thus opening a corridor from "Syria to the town of Sinjar. By the evening, the Peshmerga took control of much of Sinjar.
- "2016 Deir ez-Zor massacre
- "Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL
- "Kobanî massacre
- "List of events named massacres
- "List of genocides by death toll
- Battle for Sharfadin
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