WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is considering launching a humanitarian relief operation for Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq who have been under siege for weeks by Islamic State militants, U.S. defense officials said Wednesday.<br />
The mission, if it went forward, would be the second recent U.S. military humanitarian intervention in Iraq. U.S. cargo planes dropped tons of food and water to displaced Yazidis on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq earlier this month, supported by U.S. airstrikes on nearby Islamic State fighting positions.<br />
The administration is now focused on the imperiled town of Amirli, which is situated about 105 miles north of Baghdad and just a few miles from Kurdish territory. An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people are estimated to have no access to food or water.<br />
The head of the United Nation's assistance mission in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, earlier this week called for urgent action in Amirli and described the situation as desperate.<br />
Three U.S. defense officials said a humanitarian mission is under consideration. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they could not discuss internal administration deliberations by name. The timetable for a decision on whether and how to go ahead with the mission was not immediately clear.
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