AUSTRALIAN forces could be involved in a humanitarian mission to Iraq within days, to provide food and water to the thousands of people stranded in the north of the country, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced.
Mr Abbott said the United States has asked Australian to consider participating in humanitarian air drops near in the mountain area near the city of Sinjar and that officials in the US and Australia are currently in talks.
''There is a looming humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in northern Iraq right now," Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
"Some 40,000 women and children mostly, are exposed on a mountain surrounded, as I understand it, by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant forces that are threatening to kill them."
Mr Abbott added that Iraqis were exposed in the mountain area, without food, water and shelter, noting that US President Barack Obama had called the situation a potential genocide.
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