Obama: No rescue of Yazidis, but airstrikes will continue

Washington, Aug 14 (EFE).- President Barack Obama said Thursday that a rescue mission to save the Yazidis on northern Iraq's Mt. Sinjar will not be necessary, but the U.S. military will continue its campaign selectively bombing jihadist positions to protect American personnel and installations in the country.

"Because of the skill and professionalism of our military and the generosity of our people, we broke the ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) siege of Mount Sinjar, we helped vulnerable people reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives," he told reporters.

"We do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain and it's unlikely that we're going to need to continue humanitarian airdrops on the mountain," he said during a brief press conference in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

The president said he based his decision on an assessment by a small U.S. team that traveled to Mt. Sinjar.

The team, he said, "found that food and water had been reaching those in need and that thousands of people have been evacuating safely each and every night."

"The civilians who remain continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yazidis who are helping to facilitate the safe passage of their families," the president said.

Nevertheless, Obama said that the Pentagon will continue to mount selective air strikes "to protect our people and facilities in Iraq," mainly in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

"We're going to be working with our international partners to provide humanitarian assistance to those who are suffering in northern Iraq," he said.

"We are urging Iraqis to come together to turn the tide against ISIL, above all by seizing the enormous opportunity of forming a new inclusive government under the leadership of Prime Minister-designate Abadi," Obama said.