Iraq crisis: Barack Obama warns that intervention is a 'long-term project' as US launches more air strikes

The US President said America was acting to prevent genocide

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The Independent Online

The US has launched a series of air strikes on the militant forces persecuting refugees in Iraq, in what Barack Obama says will be a "long-term project" of military intervention.

Isis fighters have driven tens of thousands of Kurdish-speaking followers of the Yazidi faith into the north-western Sinjar mountain range, in what has been described as "genocide in [both] the literal and legalistic sense".

The UN estimates that at least 56 children have died of dehydration in the mountains, and the US President said America must act now to prevent more deaths, provide humanitarian aid and protect its diplomats.

US Central Command said in a statement that over the course of Saturday four strikes were carried out by its planes and drones, targeting the Isis militants as they fired indiscriminately upon civilians.

Military officials said they destroyed armoured carriers and a truck, in what was the third round of air strikes since they were authorised by the President on Thursday.

Until then the US had not carried out its own official military operations in Iraq since the withdrawal in late 2011.

Footage released by the US military shows a fighter jet strike on an Isis target on Friday 8 August

It returned to battle on Friday when two F/A-18 jets dropped 500lb bombs on Islamic State fighters advancing on the Kurdish capital of Irbil as violence sent the number of displaced Iraqis soaring.

And while Mr Obama admitted the US military cannot bring peace to Iraq, he said the air strikes were "part of a long-term project" that will continue until Iraq can form a government capable of ensuring the security of its borders.

"We can conduct air strikes, but ultimately there's not going to be an American military solution to this problem," he said. "There's going to have to be an Iraqi solution that America and other countries and allies support."