Paris, August 13: French President Francois Hollande has announced that France would supply arms to Iraq’s Kurdish forces to fight Islamic State (IS) militants who have overrun the country’s northern areas and triggered a security crisis, media reports said Wednesday. The move is “in response to the urgent need expressed by the regional authorities in Kurdistan,” BBC quoted a statement from Hollande’s office as saying.

Authorities in Baghdad have already approved the decision, according to some media reports. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had Tuesday urged the European Union to arm Iraqi Kurds. Fabius noted “an obvious imbalance” between IS militants that have “sophisticated weapons”, and brave Kurdish fighters that lack such arms.

The IS has seized major towns in northern Iraq and forced tens of thousands of people from minority communities, mainly Christians and Yazidis to displace. The US has also reportedly begun supplying weapons to the Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga. The political leader of Iraq’s Kurds, Massoud Barzani, had Sunday appealed for international military aid to help defeat the Islamist militants.