Members of Saskatchewan’s Iraqi community are more concerned than ever about the safety of their loved ones back home.
On Friday, the United States began an air campaign against the Islamic State, the militant group that has taken over most of Iraq, most often referred to as ISIS.
Kaesir Istifo has family in Northern Iraq. He says the militants are within 50 km of their home.
“We talk to them daily on Facebook or Tango, even phone calls,” Istifo told CBC News on Friday. “(It’s) not safe at all. They're very worried. ISIS or whatever they're called at this point are literally threatening them.”
And while Istifo hopes the U.S. attacks will weaken the Islamic State group, he also fears that the bombs will hit civilians.
“No bombs are going to go down without hurting civilians, other people and historical stuff, so is it a good thing? I can't answer. Is it a bad thing? I really can't answer,” he said.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama approved targeted air strikes in Iraq, near the site where some 40,000 religious minorities are trapped on a mountaintop. The minorities fled from Islamic State militants who threatened to kill them.
The airstrikes are the first by the U.S. military in Iraq since it withdrew its forces at the end of 2011. However, Obama insisted he has no intention of letting the United States get dragged back into another war there.