On August 7, President Obama announced from the White House that, in light of the plight of the Yezidi refugees on Sinjar Mountain, and the advance of ISIS onto the Ninewa Plain toward Erbil, he has authorized American airstrikes specifically in support of humanitarian relief operations for the Yezidi refugees, and to protect American personnel at the Consulate in Erbil as well as the Embassy in Baghdad.  He stressed that any airstrikes would only happen if those conditions were met, and further stressed that there will be no further American boots on the ground.  He reiterated the position that “there can be no American military solution,” and that only an Iraqi political reconciliation could stop what is happening.

The Kurds claimed that the US launched airstrikes on August 7, but the State Department has denied any such strikes occurred.  It is possible that the strikes being reported were Turkish, as BAS News reported that eight Turkish aircraft from Dyarbikar Airbase that had been monitoring the situation near Gweir and Makhmour had been tapped to begin bombing Thursday night.

As of mid-June, the USS George HW Bush has been on standby in the Persian Gulf to provide air support over Iraq.  On August 8, the first sorties from the George Bush hit ISIS artillery that had been engaging Peshmerga forces near Erbil.

The Institute for the Study of War reported on August 6 that Red Crescent aircraft dropped supplies to refugees around Sinjar Mountain, along with 40 tons from Barzani Foundation and Human Rights Commission.  It has not been sufficient, and people are already dying of thirst and malnutrition.  At least 70 people have died of starvation already, and the real numbers are likely higher.