“RAF Tornado jets have arrived in Cyprus from the UK and are set to support efforts to deliver aid to refugees trapped on mountains in northern Iraq. The jets will carry out surveillance ahead of further airdrops as the UN warned tens of thousands were trapped.
A “small number” of Chinook helicopters would also be sent for “further relief options”, the Foreign Office said. It comes after advances by Islamic State (IS) forces, amid reports of persecution of religious minorities. Among those reportedly being targeted by the jihadists are Iraqi Christians and members of the Yazidi religious sect.
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The UN Refugee Agency said about 35,000 people had escaped from the mountains into Syria and then into the Kurdistan region of Iraq in the past three days. It said most were “exhausted, dehydrated and many have suffered sun or heat stroke”. But it said “an estimated 20,000 to 30,000″ Yazidis remained trapped without food, water or shelter.”
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