Pentagon officials say that U.S. airstrikes and combat efforts by Kurdish soldiers have effectively ended the Islamist insurgents’ siege of Mount Sinjar in northwestern Iraq, where thousands of members of the Yezidi religious minority had been trapped.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told the New York Times and other publications on Wednesday night that the news drastically reduces the likelihood of further intervention by U.S. forces, a prospect hotly discussed as reports of risks faced by the Yezidis — deemed enemies by Sunni extremists Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) — appeared to worsen in recent days.
However, thousands of Yezidis have now reportedly been able to escape the mountain, which ISIS forces first besieged after the fall of the nearby city of Sinjar on August 3. Though things are still far from stable in the region, the U.S. insists that it has no plans to engage its…
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