Statement on Iraq by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
This evening, at the president's direction, and at the request of the Government of Iraq, the U.S. military conducted a humanitarian assistance operation near Sinjar in northern Iraq, providing food and water for thousands of Iraqi civilians whose lives have been threatened by armed groups associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
I commend the men and women of the United States Central Command who safely and successfully executed this operation.
The U.S. military will also remain ready to conduct targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq fighting to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect Iraqi civilians trapped there. In addition, we are prepared to conduct airstrikes to protect American personnel against ISIL terrorist convoys should they approach Erbil.
An enduring solution to the persistent threat posed by ISIL will require further reconciliation among Iraqi communities and strengthened Iraqi security forces. Department of Defense personnel in Iraq therefore continue to assess opportunities to help train, advise, and assist Iraqi forces, and will provide increased support once Iraq has formed a new government.