Syrian Kurds Rescue Yazidis from Iraq Mountain
The stranded Yazidi refugees trapped on Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq are finally being rescued.
They've been stranded for more than a week with little food and water after Islamic State fighters, also known as ISIS, forced them from their homes.
Now, Syrian Kurdish fighters have come to the rescue, carving out a pathway to safety for the Yazidis.
Weak and dehydrated, some of the Yazidis have made it safely to a refugee camp just inside Syria. Many needed immediate medical attention. One little girl's feet blistered from the long, shoeless journey up and down the mountain.
"The situation in the camp is still kind of primitive," said Maha Sidky, the head of Field Office for UNHCR in Qamishli.
"We are trying to improve it, to make it better, to increase the tents," she explained. "Lots of people are without tents. Toilets need to be increased... for now the estimated number is 12,000 persons. "
Some of the elderly fell on the mountainside while fleeing the Islamic State militants. They are being treated for broken bones.
The United Nations says as many as 150,000 more Iraqi refugees may arrive here within the next several days. A growing number of Iraqis - especially Christians - are seeking asylum in the West.
The new head of the Anglican Church in Australia, Archbishop Phililp Freier, says the Australian government should emulate France in granting asylum requests.
And Justin Welby, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, suggests the world can no longer turn a blind eye to the rising persecution of Christians.
"What is happening right now in northern Iraq, though, is off the scale of human terror that we've seen over recent years," Welby said. "In a globalized world where even distant nations are our neighbor, we cannot allow these atrocities to be unleashed with impunity."
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the Pentagon will beef up its presence in northern Iraq.
"I recommended to the president, and the president has authorized me to go ahead and send about 130 new assessment team members up to northern Iraq, in the Erbil area, to take a closer look and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis," Hagel said.
In Baghdad, it appears Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is losing his grip on power.
Members of his own party and a growing number of military supporters are distancing themselves from his divisive rule. That could mean Iraq is heading toward a more inclusive government.