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Yazidis in Northern Iraq: France to Join US, UK in Delivering Humanitarian Airdrops

First Posted: Aug 10, 2014 01:30 PM EDT
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France announced Sunday it will join the aid efforts to send supplies to northern Iraqis trapped by Islamic State militants, joining the multinational effort that includes the U.S. and U.K..

The Associated Press reported Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited Iraq and told its acting foreign minister that France is ready to join two nations in delivering supplies.

But United Nations officials said airdrops alone cannot help the thousands trapped by IS, according to CNN.

Marzio Babille of UNICEF told CNN that only about 100-150 people have been airlifted from the mountain by Iraqi forces out of a total 40,000 Yazidis that are estimated to be trapped.

"We are running out of time for thousands who can obviously not be reached by these airdrops," he said.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told France 24 that airdrops began, and while there were no intentions to begin military intervention, they may use the forces to aid Iraq in getting the trapped individuals off the mountain.

"More widely we are looking at how to support this group of people and get them off that mountain, how we are going to facilitate their exit from what is a completely unacceptable situation," Hammond told reporters on Saturday, according to France 24.

Fabius, while in Iraq Sunday, addressed the Iraqi government, calling on them to build a stronger united front to be able to fight the IS, according to Radio Free Europe.

U.S. President Barack Obama also made similar comments earlier last week when justifying the airstrikes, saying the Iraqi government needed more time to organize and unite.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told the Guardian Friday that he supported the U.S. airstrikes, but the U.K. would not be engaging in similar strikes.

"I have tasked officials to urgently establish what more we can do to provide help to those affected, including those in grave need of food, water and shelter in the Sinjar area," Cameron said.

"I welcome President Obama's decision to accept the Iraqi government's request for help and to conduct targeted U.S. airstrikes, if necessary, to help Iraqi forces as they fight back against ISIL terrorists to free the civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar. And I fully agree with the president that we should stand up for the values we believe in -- the right to freedom and dignity, whatever your religious beliefs."

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