WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- American Yazidis are visiting a mostly-empty Washington to lobby the White House and Congress for the U.S. to send more aid to help stop Islamic State (IS) militants.
The group, who came to district from Lincoln, Neb., has had meetings at the White House and the State Department, but is also spending time walking around the empty halls of the Capitol as Congress is on summer recess. The White House is also quiet due to U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Martha's Vineyard.
Many of the Yazidis work to translate reports to U.S. officials from Iraqis to map out actions and trends on the ground there -- a skill they learned when working as translators for the U.S. military in Iraq.
"I think the American political system and the public is getting the message and hopefully we will all work together to end this genocide," said Murad Ismail, a research assistant at Houston University.
Obama announced targeted airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) -- formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) -- Thursday, but made it clear that any further U.S. action would not involve putting boots on the ground. That is an important caveat for war-weary Americans who are adamantly opposed sending troops to the country. The Yazidis, however, said they that that is exactly what is needed to save their people.
"He's [Obama] committed to no boots on the ground. We disagree on that because the ISIL issue will not stop killing Yazidis and he will end up putting boots on the ground -- we know. so we were hoping he would do it now and then we can save more lives because boots on the ground would help," Hadi Pir, a teacher, told the BBC.