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British jets join efforts to help Iraq's Yazidis

Posted on Aug 13 2014 | IANS

London, Aug 13 : Three British Royal Air Force (RAF) surveillance aircrafts landed at an air base in Cyprus Tuesday to carry out aid drops to Iraqi Yazidi refugees on a mountain top.

RAF Tornado jets landed at Cyprus's Akrotiri air force base after dusk, Xinhua reported.

A statement issued Monday by British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said the Tornados could, if required, use their excellent surveillance capacity to gather better situational awareness to help with humanitarian efforts.

The decision to send the Tornados to Cyprus was made after a transport plane had to abort a supply drop for fear that the packages would hurt people on the ground.

British Hercules transport planes have been using Akrotiri air base for supply drops.

Thousands of Yazidis fled to the barren Sinjar mountain range after Islamic State fighters occupied their towns and villages in northern Iraq.

British foreign secretary Philip Hammond noted that no combat role is envisaged for the Tornados at the present time.

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