Obama: US broke militants’ siege on Iraq mountain, will pull some troops out

World Today

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the situations in Iraq and in Ferguson, Missouri on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Edgartown, Mass., during his family vacation on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke about the turmoil in Iraq and the ongoing situation in the U.S. suburb of St. Louis where police used tear gas and smoke bombs to repel protesters.

Obama press conference

Obama speaks on Iraq, race protests in Missouri

U.S. President Barack Obama has spoken about the turmoil in Iraq and the ongoing situation in the U.S. suburb of St. Louis where police used tear gas and smoke bombs to repel protesters.

In Iraq, a problem-plagued government and an aggressive Sunni insurgency have threatened stability in the region. However, Obama stated that the U.S. has succeeded in stopping the siege by Islamic militants on Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain. Airstrikes will continue, he added.

The military continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq Thursday with a mix of fighter and remotely-piloted aircraft, according to a release. They struck two armed vehicles and a mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle northeast of Irbil. MRAPs were the signature vehicle in both Iraq and Afghanistan, made in America to help save American soldiers’ lives from IED blasts.

Obama announced that the majority of American troops sent to break the siege on Mount Sinjar in Iraq will be leaving. It’s unclear how many service members will leave, but they will represent a portion of the 130 member assessment team sent Tuesday to Northern Iraq. Obama made the remarks after that team assessed that there is no need for more troops to help evacuate the remaining Yazidi refugees there.

The situation has improved, Obama said in a Thursday press conference from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation location.

We broke the siege of Sinjar — We helped vulnerable people, Obama said.

The U.S. president says American military strikes will continue in Iraq to protect American personnel and facilities. The Pentagon said the humanitarian mission in Iraq is not over. Pentagon Spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said if there is a need, the U.S. will continue humanitarian aid drops.

U.S. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice issued the following statement on Iraq a few hours later:

Today, Iraqis took another major step forward in uniting their country. We commend Prime Minister Maliki for his decision to support Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi in his efforts to form a new government in line with the Iraqi constitution. We have heard from a wide range of leaders across the Iraqi political spectrum who have expressed their commitment to work with Dr. Abadi to form a broad, inclusive government with an agenda that can address the needs and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi people. In the last few days, we have also welcomed statements of support from all over the world for the new Prime Minister-designate. These are encouraging developments that we hope can set Iraq on a new path and unite its people against the threat presented by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The United States remains committed to a strong partnership with Iraq and the Iraqi people.

Report compiled with information from The Associated Press