The U.S. has started flying food and water in northern Iraq to civilians stranded there by the operations of the Islamic State, especially members of the Yazidi religious group who are trapped on a mountain after fleeing an Iraqi town called Sinjar and the surrounding area.
Meanwhile, the New York Times, citing local Kurdish officials and Iraqi-government officials, reported that the U.S. is bombing Islamic State forces in the region, but the Pentagon has emphatically denied that. One Iraqi official at some point said that the Iraqi air force was doing the bombing,but the government’s air power is significantly limited (it apparently took delivery of a certain number of Russian ground-attack fighters this year). The Pentagon noted that the Turkish air force could be doing the bombing, but the Turks have said they’re not.
The crisis in northern Iraq has worsened in recent days as jihadists have won victories over the local paramilitary forces, the reputedly effective Kurdish peshmerga. France has pledged aid to the Kurdish forces, but the U.S. has not publicly offered assistance.