Obama ponders way to rescue desperate refugees in Iraq - Tucson News Now

Obama ponders way to rescue desperate refugees in Iraq

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A woman weeps over her family's fate while running from merciless ISIS terrorists in Iraq. (Source: CNN) A woman weeps over her family's fate while running from merciless ISIS terrorists in Iraq. (Source: CNN)
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WASHINGTON, DC (CNN) - A desperate situation is growing even worse in Iraq.

Thousands of refugees are trying to escape rampaging ISIS terrorists and find a safe haven.

The U.S. is considering an air operation, but officials say sending ground forces is under consideration.

It's being called an exodus of biblical proportions.

And now the U.S. may step up its involvement.

As some 130 U.S. troops are now on the ground in northern Iraq to assess the humanitarian crisis, the White House is looking at possible options, both land and air, for evacuating Yazidi refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

"We don't believe it is sustainable to just have, you know, permanent air drops to this population there on the mountain,” said Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

Kurdish officials estimate some 10,000 to 20,000 people are still on the mountain.

And now they are lacking necessary food and shelter, and prompting humanitarian aid drops as well as desperate, chaotic and very dangerous evacuations.

So far the U.S. involvement has been largely focused on completing airstrikes on ISIS targets.

"The people of Kurdistan are really looking for help from the U.S., pleading for help from the U.S., and the U.S. is beginning to provide it,” said David Tafuri, a former U.N. and U.S. State Department official.

The White House says Obama is waiting on a final assessment before deciding his next step.

“We are not putting ground forces in a combat role in Iraq. We are using U.S. military personnel to assess what the best ways to bring people to safety and the best ways to provide them with humanitarian assistance,” Rhodes said.

But the situation is growing more dire by the minute.

ISIS forces have also reportedly captured additional villages as thousands of Iraqis flee their own country.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

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