(EDGARTOWN, Mass.) -- President Obama on Thursday said the military and humanitarian assistance to protect an Iraqi religious minority group under siege by a terrorist organization had been a success.
The airdrops delivered more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water to the Yadizis, Obama told reporters at a news conference during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.
The Yazidis faced “a terrible choice” -- starve on the mountain or be killed by ISIS terrorists on the ground. “That’s when America came to help,” Obama said.
“The bottom line is: the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts,” he said, adding, “I could not be prouder of the men and women of our military who carried out this humanitarian operation almost flawlessly.”
Following the advancement of the terrorist group ISIS toward the Iraqi city of Erbil, Obama last week authorized a series of targeted airstrikes, which he said successfully eliminated some munitions stockpiles and helped protect American interests from attacks.
The president has insisted that there is “no American military solution” to the crisis in Iraq and has promised not to send ground troops back into combat. It was “unlikely” that air drops would need to continue and assessment teams would leave Iraq “in the coming days," he said Thursday.
Hopeful that marshaling international support to combat ISIS would be “easier” with the establishment of a new, more inclusive government, earlier this week, Obama lauded the naming of Iraq’s new prime minister designate and urged the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces to take the lead moving forward.
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