NORTHGLENN, Colo. (CBS4) – The U.S. military has conducted four more airstrikes on Islamic militants in Iraq. The militants are targeting civilians who are taking shelter in the mountains, and one Colorado man is closely connected to the conflict.
Howrie Jabari of Northglenn has a nephew and cousins serving with Kurdish forces who are fighting ISIS. Right now Kurds, Americans and Brits are trying to save tens of thousands of people stuck on a mountain in northern Iraq near the Syrian border. Those people are called Yazitis. They follow a mix of ancient religions which ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. has vowed to destroy.
“ISIS have no respect for human life, and to them, either you join them or they kill you,” Jabari said.
Jabari is a Kurd who escaped Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1977. He’s been watching Kurdish TV news from his home in Northglenn.
“According to what I heard from TV, probably by now close to 1,000 or 2,000 died just from starvation,” he said.
Jabari served with the Red Cross during the Gulf War of 1991. Scenes of desperate people haunt him.
“I saw people dying, and when I see this I cannot see the pictures coming back.”
The Kurds are dropping supplies for the Yazitis forced onto a mountain, but blocked by ISIS from escaping. Kurdish TV says a helicopter came under fire from ISIS, leading one soldier to return fire.
U.S. forces are sending food and water as well, and the news that U.S. warplanes are bombing Isis thrilled Jabari. He wishes it happened sooner.
“Why (the) president waited until (the) crisis and people die and then send the help, we could’ve prevented a week ago,” he said.
The Kurds worked with the U.S. military during the Iraq War, but the Kurds don’t have the armored American Humvees ISIS captured from the Iraqi army. Jabari is hoping the U.S. will send up-to-date weapons to the Kurds.