WASHINGTON (August 9, 2014) U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have succeeded in destroying arms and equipment that could have been used against the Kurdish capital of Irbil, President Barack Obama said Saturday.
Humanitarian efforts continue to airdrop food and water to persecuted religious minorities stranded on a mountaintop, and Mr. Obama says planning is underway for how to get them down.
Mr. Obama wouldn't give a timetable for how long the U.S. military involvement would last, saying it depends on Iraqi political efforts, but did say, "I think this is going to take some time."
"I don't think we are going to solve this problem in weeks,” he said.
Mr. Obama also says the advance of the Islamic State forces was more rapid than anticipated.
Mr. Obama made the comments on the South Lawn of the White House Saturday, just before boarding Marine One for his summer vacation in Massachusetts.
Iraq's foreign minister says the U.S. airstrikes have been "very effective" at helping Kurdish forces counter the advance of Islamic militants.
He said an American military team was in the Kurdish regional capital, Irbil, working to ensure tactical coordination with Kurdish forces.
The U.S. has made a second airdrop to thousands who have fled the group's advance and find themselves trapped on a mountaintop.
The Pentagon says three planes dropped 72 bundles of supplies for the refugees, members of the Yazidi religious minority.
Included in the aid were more than 28,000 meals and more than 1,500 gallons of water.
Iraqi officials say the militants have seized hundreds of Yazidi women, citing reports from the victims' families.