Speed Necessary for Iraq Assessments
Speed Necessary for Iraq
Assessments, DoD Spokesman Says
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C.
Marshall Jr., DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD
News) – Aug. 13, 2014 – Though no timeline is established for the work of
about 130 additional Defense Department personnel who arrived in Erbil, Iraq,
yesterday to assess the situation there, rapid assessment is necessary, Pentagon
spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren told reporters today.
The additional assessors will begin flowing reports to the
Joint Operations Center immediately, he added.
Warren referred reporters to the department’s written
statement announcing that service members from the U.S. Central Command area of
operations arrived in Erbil to assess the scope of the humanitarian mission and
develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond the current airdrop
effort in support of displaced Iraqi civilians trapped on Sinjar Mountain by the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“There are 129 new personnel on the ground in Erbil to assess
the situation and come up with answers,” Warren said. “Part of what this
assessment team is there to do is assess the conditions on the ground there to
help inform our planning for future operations.”
The colonel also noted that a total of 864 U.S. service
members are in Iraq in addition to about 100 troops in the Office of Security
Cooperation in Baghdad. “In Erbil, their purpose is to assess other options for
humanitarian assistance,” Warren said. Assessment teams in Baghdad, he added,
are evaluating the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.
Asked of additional support for the mission in Iraq from
allies, Warren said the department is “encouraged by our international partners’
willingness to join in this endeavor.”
Warren also said U.S. efforts to assist Iraq have
“absolutely” had an impact. “A combination of our resupply efforts to the [Kurdish]
Peshmerga [fighters],” he said, “and our airstrikes in and around Mount Sinjar
have absolutely had an impact on ISIL’s ability to place direct fire on those [internally
displaced citizens] on Mount Sinjar.”
The Kurdish security forces’ activities, along with U.S.
airstrikes, have slowed, if not, stopped ISIL’s ability to continue inflicting
direct harm on the people who fled to the mountain to escape the ISIL terrorists,
Warren said. “We are continuing to apply pressure to the ISIL forces in the
region by conducting very targeted airstrikes on their positions,” he added.
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone
Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallDoDNews) :
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