Exodus of the Yazidis: Refugee crisis steps up with thousands fleeing into Syria as Obama arms Kurdish forces against ISIS
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Senior U.S. officials say arms being sent directly to peshmerga forces in sign of growing concern about ISIS gains
Obama administration has previously insisted on only selling weapons to the Iraqi government in Baghdad
Comes as Kurdish forces seized back two towns from the Islamic insurgents aided in part by U.S. air strikes
Extremist group possesses state-of-the-art weaponry that outguns much of the ageing firepower of the Kurds
By Simon Tomlinson
Published: 03:37 EST, 11 August 2014 | Updated: 08:39 EST, 11 August 2014
The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, senior U.S. officials said today.
Previously, the U.S. had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but the Kurdish peshmerga fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State (IS) fighters in recent weeks.
U.S. air strikes have been key to redressing the balance over weekend, allowing Kurdish forces to retake two towns yesterday in one of their first victories since the uprising began in June.
But the refugee crisis continues to escalate with thousands of Yazidis pouring across the border from Iraq into Syria to escape the bloodthirsty jihadists.