France to arm Kurdish forces in northern Iraq
French President Francois Hollande says France will play an integral role in backing Kurdish forces in keeping Islamic extremists from advancing further into Iraq. (AFP/File)
French President Fracois Hollande annouced Wednesday the country will supply arms to embattled Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to help fend off militants from the Islamic State, or IS.
The news comes amid continued U.S. airstrikes in the north and military advisors in Baghdad. Since aggression toward Iraq's Yazidi minority intesified last week, Paris has delivered 18 tons of humanitarian aid, with an additional 20 tons to arrive later Wednesday.
In a statement, Hollande said "France intends to play an active role, along with its partners and in liason with the new Iraqi authorities, all the assistance required," according to the AFP.
Hollande also reaffirmed his support for Iraq's transition of power to newly appointed prime minister designate, Haider al-Abadi. During the last week, Abadi has gained international support to replace former prime minister Nour al-Maliki and focus on creating a more unified Iraqi state.