WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- While the threat of mass violence on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq has passed, the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) remains, and the United States continues its efforts to assist the Iraqi people caught up in violence, U.S. Defense Department said on Thursday.
DOD Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that the situation in Iraq remains dangerous, and he described the objectives of the U.S. military mission in the country set forth by President Barack Obama.
"The President has been clear about our limited military objectives in Iraq," he said. "They are, one, to protect American citizens and facilities, two, to provide advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle ISIL; and, three, to join with international partners to address the humanitarian crisis."
The U.S. military remains ready to continue airstrikes to protect U.S. personnel and facilities and around Irbil and to protect the Yazidi people, Kirby said. He emphasized that while U. S. airstrikes and humanitarian aid have had an impact on the situation in northern Iraq, the U.S. cannot provide a military solution to the nation's crisis.
"The only lasting solution is for the Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqi citizens and unifies the country in its fight against ISIL."
Meanwhile, the official revealed the findings of the team of U. S. service members dispatched to Erbil, who are working alongside U.S. Agency for International Development personnel, to assess the situation on Sinjar Mountain.
"The team assessed that there are far fewer Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar than previously feared," Kirby said. "That's largely because of our successful humanitarian airdrops and U.S. airstrikes on ISIL targets."
These efforts, Kirby said, enabled Kurdish Peshmerga forces to assist thousands of Yazidis in evacuating from the mountain each night over the last several days.
"Those who remain on the mountain are in better condition than we previously thought they might be," the press secretary said. " They continue to have access to the food and water that we have airdropped. And as you may know, we did yet another airdrop last night."
"While this assessment has led us to conclude that an evacuation mission is far less likely, we're not taking our eye off the ball with respect to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, Kirby said.
"We continue to assess the needs of the Yazidi people, as well as others who have been displaced in northern Iraq." he said, adding that additional humanitarian airdrops will be conducted if necessary.