Australia may participate in United States airdrops of food and water to civilians threatened by jihadist violence in Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Saturday.
US President Barack Obama has authorised air strikes in Iraq to prevent fighters from the so-called Islamic State from moving into autonomous Kurdistan and carrying out a potential genocide against displaced minorities.
The US has also dropped food and water to thousands of people who have been hiding from the Sunni extremist militants in a barren northern mountain range and Abbott said Australia could contribute to this effort.
- Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Audience Reaction: Ranbir, Aishwarya, Anushka Starrer Gets A Thumbs Up
- Bigg Boss 10, October 27 Review: Navin, Lokesh Fights During The Immunity Task
- Shivaay Audience Reaction: Ajay Devgn Impresses Viewers
- Pakistan High Commission Staffer Caught With Defence Documents: What It Means For India & Pakistan
- The Royal Opera House Reopens After Decades Of Neglect: Here’s A Quick Tour
- Tata Sons Rubbishes Cyrus Mistry’s Allegations: Here’s What Happened
- Pakistan High Commissioner denies allegations leveled on his staffer for espionage activities
- Odisha: Villagers Refuse To Cremate Dalit Woman’s Body
- Here’s What Farhan Akhtar Said On Karan Johar-MNS ‘Deal’ Over Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’s Release
- Government’s Diwali Gift to Central Government Employees, Pensioners
- Bigg Boss 10 26th October Review: This Episode Is All About Fights
- New Zealand Beat India By 19 Runs In Ranchi; Series Levelled At 2-2
- DND Toll-Free: Noida Toll Company Moves Supreme Court Against Allahabad High Court
- British PM Theresa May Says Kashmir Is A Matter For India, Pakistan To Sort Out
- J&K: Students Suffer As Schools Along LOC Forced To Shut Amid Firing
“We are talking to the Americans about possible Australian participation in these humanitarian airdrops,” Abbott told reporters in Sydney.
“Australia does have some transport assets in the Middle East,” he added, saying two C-130 aircraft in the United Arab Emirates could be used.
Australia is a close ally of the US, and Abbott said it was important to assist international partners as the situation deteriorated in Iraq.
But he said there had so far been no discussion about Australia becoming involved in the air strikes which the US has authorised.
“There is a looming humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in northern Iraq right now,” Abbott said.
“Some 40,000 women and children mostly are exposed on a mountain surrounded as I understand it by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) forces that are threatening to kill them. They are exposed on this mountaintop without food, without water without shelter.
“We’ve been asked to consider participation in humanitarian airdrops, and I think the Australian people would be pleased to think that Australia might be involved in helping to rescue up to 40,000 people.”
Abbott said Australia’s efforts would not be designed to “pick sides in a war” but to protect civilians from violent onslaught.
“This is medieval barbarism assisted by modern technology,” he said.