ROME – Italy is offering refueling planes to support increased U.S. airstrikes against Islamic militants who have captured large swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti told The Associated Press on Thursday that Italy is one of the few countries that has such refueling capabilities and is willing to make them available once a U.S.-European plan is agreed on. She said Italy is also willing to provide experts to help train Kurdish fighters.
Already Italy has authorized 1.9 million euros' ($2.5 million) worth of weaponry — 600 machine guns, 2,000 rocket-propelled grenades and nearly a million rounds of ammunition — for Kurdish fighters.
Pinotti said the weaponry has arrived in Baghdad and "we hope it will quickly get to the places where it can be used to defend the population."