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Iraq Chaldean patriarch says U.S. strikes offer little hope

Iraq’s most prominent Christian cleric says U.S. strikes ‘only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing’

Published: Updated:

Iraq’s most prominent Christian cleric voiced his disappointment Sunday at the scope of U.S. intervention, which he said offered little hope that jihadists would be defeated and displaced people could go home.

“The position of the American president Obama only to give military assistance to protect Erbil is disappointing,” Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako wrote in an open letter.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday announced he had authorized air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq to protect U.S. personnel in the Kurdish capital Erbil and avert a genocide against the Yazidis in the Sinjar region.

Three days of strikes appeared to yield some results, with Kurdish troops reclaiming towns southwest of Erbil they had lost days earlier and some of the thousands of Yazidis who had been trapped on a mountain managing to escape.

Obama has stressed that the strikes would be limited, and Sako argued that may not be enough to wrest back the main northern city of Mosul from the jihadists.

The patriarch described the prospect of having to wait for Iraqi government forces to start fighting alongside the peshmerga as “very depressing.”