Pm Abbott Backs US’ Airstrikes in Iraq

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By Athena Yenko | August 8, 2014 5:33 PM EST

Prime Minister Tony Abbott supports United States President Barack Obama's decision to launch airstrikes in Iraq against the ISIS.

REUTERS/Stringer
A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014.

Mr Abbott highlighted that the ISIS had proven itself as the major threat in Syria and Iraq. And if the group has the capacity to succeed in establishing a terrorist state in the Middle East, the group could also succeed in spreading terror to international communities.

He said that the ISIS had already attained a description beyond being an evil terrorist group and has now escalated to be a "highly potent insurgent army" capable of holding territory, imposing its "abhorrent form of government" and forging alliances with other extremist organisations.

"The Australian government is extremely concerned by the threat posed by ISIL and the even greater threat it will pose if it succeeds in its latest offensive. Therefore we strongly support President Obama's course of action," Mr Abbott told press.

Mr Obama had just announced its decision to authorize airstrikes in Iraq to protect and defend the United States staff trapped on the Sinjar mountains in the north.

He emphasised that the airstrikes, targeted against any ISIS convoys approaching the city, are primarily aimed to protect US consulate and military staff who were deployed in the city of Erbil.

Simultaneously, US had just started airdropping water and food to members of Yazidis, a religious minority trapped in the mountains by advancing Islamic militants, U.S. officials said.

There are estimated 40,000 Yazidis who are stranded on top of the mountains with no food and water. The United Nations Children's Fund said that there were 40 refugee children that died already.

"These innocent families are faced with a choice - descend and be slaughtered or stay and slowly die of hunger. Today, America is coming to help," Mr Obama told press.

According to a statement from the White House, 70 pallets of water and ready-to-eat meals were dropped into the mountains.

"They are unable to access food and water. They don't have any access to shelter. They have fled persecution, and efforts to leave the mountain are blocked by ISIL [Islamic State] forces who are threatening to kill them. This is a terrible humanitarian situation," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Mr Obama said that he had vowed to stop America's military involvement in Iraq, however, he cannot turn a blind eye to all the terrors happening.

 "When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I think the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye," Mr Obama said.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer / REUTERS/Stringer)
A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014.
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