Up to 4000 Iraqi and Syrian Christians and members of other minorities fleeing persecution by Islamic State terrorists will be offered sanctuary in Australia by the Abbott Government, reports The Australian.
Tony Abbott yesterday held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, senior British ministers and security officials on his plans for some form of intervention in Iraq. He left the way open for an increased Australian military role to help stop the genocide there. 'We will do what we reasonably can within our capacities to assist in averting a humanitarian catastrophe,' the Prime Minister said.
So far, Australia has agreed publicly to send two transport aircraft to drop emergency supplies to refugees fleeing on foot, taking their children, the sick, the elderly and their sparse belongings with them.
Asked if Australia might provide additional forces, Mr Abbott responded: 'We certainly don’t rule that out.'
He confirmed that US officials at this week’s AUSMIN talks in Sydney did discuss further military options, focusing on 'how Australia could usefully contribute to the operations of our partners to protect the people of northern Iraq from potential genocide.'
In Sydney, US Secretary of State John Kerry ruled out a combat role for US troops in Iraq. But he and Mr Abbott appear to have left open the possibility of some other form of intervention, perhaps with wider airstrikes on militants.
Thousands of persecuted members of the Yazidi sect have fled to the edges of Iraq and over the border into Turkey, and several thousand others remain trapped by militants on the sweltering Sinjar Mountain in the country’s north. Some have died of thirst or heat exhaustion in the 10 days since Islamic State seized the town of Sinjar.
Door open to 4000 fleeing Islamic State (The Australian)