WASHINGTON — Islamist militants affiliated with the sharia law-enforcing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or the Levant, known as either ISIS or ISIL) have driven back the Kurdish militia known as the pershmerga.
Reuters reported that the Kurds had held areas close to their semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq until losing ground to the militants this past week. Now, historically Christian towns are emptying as residents are fleeing the Islamists.
Christians are afraid of reports that the Islamists force conversion to Islam to residents in seized towns, and if they refuse, the militants quickly execute non-Muslims.
There are reports that the Obama administration may use military airstrikes to target ISIS units operating in northern Iraq, as well as reports that the U.S. will conduct humanitarian aid airdrops to help alleviate the refugee situation in the area. Obama’s press secretary Josh Earnest said, “There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq.”
The Kurds had staved off the Islamist advance in recent weeks, but now it looks like the West may have to get involved to prevent Kurdistan (and the rest of Iraq) from falling into Islamist militia hands.