France says it is ready to support Iraqi Kurdish forces against Islamists

by Reuters
Thursday, 7 August 2014 16:48 GMT

PARIS, Aug 7 (Reuters) - France said on Thursday it was ready to support the forces of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq to block the advance of Islamic State militants, but gave no details of what form this would take.

French President Francois Hollande spoke on the telephone with Masoud Barzani, the Kurdish region's president, and the two agreed to cooperate, Hollande's office said in a statement.

"They emphasised their desire to cooperate to block the Islamic State's offensive in northeast Iraq," it said. "The head of State confirmed that France was ready to support forces engaged in this fight."

Turkish officials said on Thursday that thousands of Iraqis, most of them ethnic minority Yazidis, had fled to the Turkish border to escape the advance by Islamic State fighters into areas controlled by Iraqi Kurds. (Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Nick Vinocur and Kevin Liffey)

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