U.S., Canada, others discuss Iraq operation

By: The Canadian Press

 | Aug 13, 2014 - 2:22 PM |
WASHINGTON - The United States is planning an international effort to whisk displaced people to safety in Iraq, and it appears Canada may be playing a supporting role.

The U.S. says it's in discussions with Canada, France and Australia about what role those countries might play in helping Yazidis, Iraqi Christians, and others displaced by the advance of Islamist fighters.

At a White House briefing in Washington today, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes says the U.S. is acting on offers of help from allies, including Canada, and he points out that Britain has already provided humanitarian airdrops.

The U.S. has stepped up its involvement after tens of thousands of people became stranded on a mountain in northern Iraq, facing starvation and the threat of being killed by Islamist rebels.

The U.S. has launched about seven airstrikes in the region, and is now preparing a more elaborate mission whose details Rhodes says should become clear within days. He also says President Barack Obama, who removed U.S. combat troops from Iraq three years ago, will not be sending them back in.

So far, Canada has promised $5 million in aid for Iraqis, with nearly half the money going to international groups like the Red Cross and the rest set to be spent following consultation with allies.

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