NEW YORK (CNN) – A group of about a dozen U.S. Special Forces have spent the past 24 hours on Sinjar Mountain assessing the situation.
They’re now off the mountain, where thousands of Iraqis are seeking shelter from ISIS.
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.
“We don’t believe it is sustainable to just have, you know, permanent airdrops to this population there on the mountain,” said National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
Kurdish officials estimate some 10 to 20 thousand people are still on the mountain. Now lacking necessary food and shelter, 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 air strikes 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 Former U.N. and State Department official David Tafuri.
The white house says president 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 continued.
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.