After airstrikes by the U.S. on positions held by the Islamic insurgent group Islamic State, an operation that was coordinated between local civilian fighters, the Iraqi military and Shiite militias broke a siege of two-months in Amirli, averting one of the most pressing human rights crises in Iraq.
Fighters interviewed on official state TV in the town of Amirli gave thanks to the different militia groups for their help in breaking the siege that beset the 17,000 in the town with thirst, famine and diseases including diarrhea. Most of the town is Shiite Turkomen, an ethnic minority.
A spokesperson from the military in Iraq said that the town had been liberated from Islamist insurgents who were Sunni.
The breakthrough took place only hours after an international airdrop led by the U.S. with relief supplies on Saturday to the town, a modest increase of the military operations of the U.S. in the region.
Warplanes from the U.S. also struck the militant forces of Islamic State. The airstrikes were part of the relief mission.
If the troops from Iraq and the militia are successful in keeping the insurgents from heading back into Amirli, the mission would be yet one more success for airstrikes by the U.S. in averting another humanitarian crisis.
This mission comes as the White House administration considers if it should expand attacks against the Islamic State different targets within Iraq. It is also debating further incursion into Syria an Islamic State stronghold.
The mission in Amirli marks the continuation of the White House administrations intervention within northern Iraq in rescuing hundreds who were stranded in mountainous terrain while fleeing the Islamic insurgents.
The Yazidis, who are a religious group that goes back centuries, that has ties to the Kurdish ethnic minority in Iraq, has spent over two weeks in the SInjar Mountains prior to Iraqi and Kurdish fighters, supported through airstrikes by the U.S., pushed the insurgents back and allowed the Yazidis to escape.
However, the airstrikes led by the U.S. on Saturday night reflected the expanded cooperation internationally for efforts in Iraq that are humanitarian.