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Pressure on U.K. to join airstrikes

British Prime Minister David Cameron  

Britain’s International Development Secretary Justine Greening has confirmed a third round of successful airdrops of much-needed humanitarian aid to the thousands of refugees under siege by the forces of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Mount Sinjar.

“As thousands of Iraqi people remain cut off away from their homes, we are focused on getting help to those in need, particularly those trapped on Mount Sinjar,” Ms. Greening said in a statement.

“ The RAF have successfully made 5 drops, including thousands of containers filled with clean water that can also be used to purify dirty water and hundreds of shelter kits,” she said.

Aid commitment

The U.K. has committed a total of £13 million in response to the crisis.

It is also sending RAF Tornado jets as part of a surveillance mission to scan the military aid drops. The government has said that this is only to get a perspective of the terrain and does not indicate preparations for a combat role in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to call a special session of Parliament on the Iraq situation to discuss whether the U.K. should join the United States in conducting air strikes against the IS forces is increasing from his own party members and former senior armed forces officers.

Mr. Cameron was forced to cut short his holiday in Portugal by a day to attend an emergency cabinet meeting on Iraq.

The Prime Minister has thus far refused to join the United States in air strikes of northern Iraq; its involvement has been confined to humanitarian assistance. General Sir Richard Shirreff, a former Nato deputy supreme commander in an interview to the Times on August 12 accused the government of being “terrified of any form of intervention involving boots on the ground before an election next year.”

Meanwhile, the visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he does not rule out military involvement in Iraq.

Describing military intervention in the Iraqi situation a “humanitarian” response, Mr. Abbott said: “Trying to ensure that people are not exposed to terrorists who have been crucifying, summarily executing, decapitating, people who have been dealing in a hideous way with women and children – this is a humanitarian cause and Australia has a long and proud tradition of assisting people in need.”


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 2:18:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/uk-airdrops-more-aid-for-iraqs-refugees-on-mount-sinjar/article6313441.ece

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