Last updated: 26 August, 2014

Seven western states join US to arm Kurds in Iraq

Seven western governments in addition to the United States have pledged to provide weapons and ammunition to Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Tuesday.

“In addition to support from the US, and the central government of Iraq in Baghdad, seven additional nations — Albania, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom — have committed to helping provide Kurdish forces urgently needed arms and equipment,” Hagel said in a statement.

“Operations have already begun and will accelerate in the coming days with more nations also expected to contribute.”

Albania and Britain have already started moving supplies to the Kurds, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

“It’s an effort that’s really just starting,” he said.

Kirby also said the United States had helped the Iraqi government transport some military supplies by air to the Kurdish forces in the north.

The supplies to be delivered include ammunition for small arms, after Kurdish forces appealed for more weapons and equipment to take on the IS jihadists.

The US military has carried out air strikes against the IS militants since August 8, with most of the attacks taking place near Mosul dam in the north.