WASHINGTON, August 31- Western militaries have airdropped humanitarian aid to the besieged Iraqi town of Amerli, home to thousands of Shiite Turkmen cut off by jihadists from receiving food, water, and medical supplies.
“At the request of the government of Iraq, the United States military today airdropped humanitarian aid to the town of Amerli,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby on Saturday.
“The United States Air Force delivered this aid alongside aircraft from Australia, France and the United Kingdom, who also dropped much needed supplies.”
The humanitarian aid was delivered in conjunction with “coordinated airstrikes against nearby ISIL terrorists in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation,” the US military officer said, referring to the Islamic State (IS) forces also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“The operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amerli,” Kirby said.
A later statement from the US Central Command, which covers the Middle East, said the US supplies had included around 10,500 gallons of drinking water and 7,000 pre packaged meals.
The three airstrikes, Centcom said, destroyed “three ISIL Humvees, one ISIL armed vehicle, one ISIL checkpoint and one ISIL tank near Amerli,” the statement added.
Britain confirmed its contribution in a statement Sunday, saying it had delivered 11.5 tonnes of food and water.
“When people depend on our support and protection to survive, we will continue to take action,” said International Development Secretary Justine Greening, calling the situation in the region “deeply worrying.”
Kirby said “the US military will continue to assess the effectiveness of these operations,” and work with US agencies and international partners “to provide humanitarian assistance in Iraq as needed.”
The US military also launched fresh attacks Saturday on IS forces near Iraq’s Mosul dam, deploying fighter aircraft and drones to carry out the airstrikes, the Pentagon said.