Iraq: US help may have arrived just in the nick of time

Forty-eight hours ago people here in Irbil - the northern Iraqi city near where US bombardment has begun against Islamic State militants - were close to panic.

Displaced Yazidis take refuge after fleeing the violence in Sinjar. Credit: Reuters

But tonight, while people are still concerned, they are slightly more confident about the security of this city.

That's because the Kurdish defenders of Irbil now have US warplanes watching over them and the promise of badly-needed US military assistance.

The Iraqi government in Baghdad has, for political reasons, deprived the Kurds of modern weapons for many years. As a result, they are comparitively poorly armed.

One of the reasons they lost to Islamic State militants last week is that they ran out of ammunition.

Barack Obama said today fending off Islamic State militants will "take some time". Credit: Reuters

Now that is about to change - but US help has come rather late in the day.

When we were here in June, the militants' front line was an hour's drive from here.

Now it is half that distance. So America's help may have come just in the nick of time.

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