(CNN) – Desperation on a mountain top. Kurdish civilians, some clearly wounded baking in the August sun.
This little girl crying, “I lost my sister and brother, where is my mother?”
With every passing day, Kurdish officials say more people die here of dehydration and exposure to the extreme august heat.
Kurdish officials say tens of thousands of people from the Yazidi religious minority, fled to this mountain ridge to escape ISIS militants who recently captured the nearby town of Sinjar.
ISIS have the Yazidis surrounded, the trapped people, relying on air drops of vital water and food delivered by the U.S. and Iraqi air forces.
Kurdish tv released this footage of a helicopter delivering assistance to the same area. A lucky few make it on board the flight to safety. Their faces pretty much say it all.
Not far away, ISIS militants have been celebrating their latest advances. Showing off their control of the Mosul dam, a strategic piece of Iraqi infrastructure. if it breaks, it could flood all the way down to the capital Baghdad.
Further east, U.S. Airstrikes appear to have helped slow the ISIS advance. Bombing suspected ISIS positions just west of the Zab River.
Just twenty minutes’ drive away from Irbil. Kurdish officials relieved and thankful for the U.S. Intervention.
“We are most grateful and want to express our gratitude and deep, deep appreciation for president Obama and the U.S. Administration and for the courageous U.S. army and airmen who are now patrolling the skies of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan,” said Hoshyar Zebari.
The American air strikes have boosted morale here and given the Kurds time to reorganize their defenses.
U.S. airpower has given Kurdish officials the opportunity to bolster its defense around this fragile sanctuary in the north, where hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled to escape the ISIS advance.
Copyright CNN 2016