Abbott commits to supporting the Kurds fight Isis

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott said Australia will join international partners to help Kurdish fighters battle Islamic State militants in Iraq.

But no decision has been made on whether Australian troops will be deployed to the war-torn country.

Mr Abbott said at the weekend the United States Government had requested that Australia help to transport stores of military equipment, including arms and munitions, as part of a multi-nation effort.

He said those airdrops would commence this week.

"Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft will join aircraft from other nations including Canada, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to conduct this important task," he said.

"Australia's contribution will continue to be coordinated with the government of Iraq and regional countries.

"The situation in Iraq represents a humanitarian catastrophe.

Mr Abbott said Australia remains in close contact with the United States and other international partners and would continue to work together to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Iraq and address the security threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist organisation.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said on Sunday Labor supported the government's plan to provide two planes to assist beleaguered Kurdish fighters who are the front line against the Islamic State terrorist organisation.

"Decisions like this are not made easily," he said.

"Australian men and women are going in harm's way.

"This is for the best of reasons: humanitarian relief to prevent genocide against beleaguered minorities in northern Iraq.

"What we see today is a remarkable act of international cooperation."

Earlier, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison declined to comment on reports Australia could also be asked to consider deploying Super Hornets for targeted air strikes.

He told Sky News Australia the US had not made that request.

"We are not going to get ahead of ourselves," he said.

Mr Morrison said the government was looking at Australia's military capability across a range of areas and would consider other requests.

"Defining the mission and the objective was critical," he said

"Let us not kid ourselves either, ISIL does present a threat.

"What we are seeing there is evil incarnate."


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