After the U.S. State Department and military reportedly discovered fewer Yazidis in Iraq trapped on Mount Sinjar than previously feared, a mass evacuation is considered unlikely.
The Pentagon stated that a Special Forces team flew there and found fewer people than predicted, and those remaining were said to be in better condition than assumed.
According to BBC News, the UN estimated tens of thousands of people were stranded and surrounded by ISIS militants on the mountain after being forced to flee their homes. Those stranded were mostly from religious minorities and members of the Yazidi sect.
The fewer numbers of refugees than expected was reportedly due to thousands that evacuated from the mountain each night over the past days, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon statement included that “the Yazidis who remain are in better condition than previously believed and continue to have access to the food and water that we have dropped.” They added, “Based on this assessment… an evacuation mission is far less likely.”
The statement continued by reassuring that the US would continue providing humanitarian assistance.
Earlier, the US was assessing whether to evacuate those isolated on the mountain and considered airlifts for the safe passages of fleeing civilians.
On Wednesday, the UN confirmed the Iraq crisis a “level three emergency,” its highest level of humanitarian crisis.
The difficulty of evacuating the refugees by air seems to be the major reason why they are not carrying out the plan. While the planes can land on rugged ground, the number of civilians on the mountain would require numerous runs.
The Obama administration ruled out the hazardous military mission to rescue the stranded Iraqis, asserting that the obstruction by Islamist extremists to be over, according to the Guardian.
The US also conducted air strikes on IS targets in Iraq’s north. They launched airstrikes on IS militant locations, borders and vehicles in the area of the town and mountain of Sinjar.
Although US troops would not come to rescue the remaining Yazidis, US humanitarian aid drops will continue dropping food and water supplies. In a collected mission for aid, France promised to arm Iraq’s Kurds, while the UK pledged to join a rescue mission for evacuated civilians.
Overall, the UN assess that 1.2 million Iraqis have been affected and internally displaced by the catastrophe. The rapid efforts by IS militants in Iraq has turned the country into chaos.