It looks like President Obama's program of limited, targeted airstrikes against ISIS is working to loosen their grip on territory in Iraq.
Iraqi troops and militias aided by U.S. airstrikes broke through a two-month siege of the town of Amerli on Sunday, opening up a humanitarian corridor to thousands of Shiite Turkmen who had been trapped by Sunni militants and deprived of food, water, and medicine.
“Amerli has been liberated,” said Mahdi Taqi, a local official who spoke by phone from inside the town after the army had entered. “There is so much joy and people are cheering in the streets.”
Sunni militants from the Islamic State group, which seized much of northern Iraq in June, had surrounded Amerli, cutting off access to supplies and electricity.
Residents struggled to fight off the militants, but were beginning to die of hunger and disease.
The United Nations Special Representative to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, last week warned of an impending “massacre” should Islamic State fighters breach the town.
But a short series of U.S. air strikes on Saturday night appeared to quickly tilt the balance in favor of Iraqi government forces.
The three strikes were accompanied by humanitarian aid drops by American, British, French and Australian aircraft, the Pentagon said in a statement.
“These operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” the Pentagon said.
A thoughtful, measured response is starting to turn the corner, and we're doing it without putting in tens of thousands of troops back in Iraq. It's funny how everyone is screaming that President Obama's foreign policy is a "failure" and yet A) it's not failing and B) nobody seems to have any better ideas.