France ready to offer technical support to Iraqi Kurdish forces

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.

France ready to offer technical support to Iraqi Kurdish forces

World Bulletin/News Desk

France said on Thursday it was ready to support the forces of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq to block the advance of ISIL militants, although a diplomatic source added no military assistance was on the agenda.

"France envisages support of a technical nature and no military assistance properly speaking is on the agenda," a diplomatic source told Reuters.

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. Officials declined to give more details.

"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.

ISIL ON THE KURDISH BORDER?

Reuters photographs showed Islamic State fighters controlling a checkpoint at the border area of the Kurdish semi-autonomous region on Thursday.

A security adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government denied Islamic State had captured the Khazer checkpoint and said there was no threat to the capital Arbil, just a 30 minute drive away.

"Khazer is under peshmerga (Kurdish) control definitively," said the adviser, on condition of anonymity.

The Sunni militants have been making a dramatic push in the north, routing Kurdish forces, since mounting an offensive over the weekend which has alarmed the Baghdad government and regional powers.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ağustos 2014, 23:53

Muhammed Öylek

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