The UK will send weapons to the Iraqi government to help it fight the Islamic State (IS), Michael Fallon said today.
The defence secretary said he is "committed" to assisting the Iraqi government and to helping Kurdish forces defend themselves against the militants.
According to the BBC, he added he wanted to help the authorities in Iraq by "alleviating the humanitarian suffering of those Iraqis targeted by ISIL [Islamic State] terrorists".
He added that Britain was promoting "an inclusive, sovereign and democratic Iraq that can push back on ISIL advances and restore stability and security across the country, and working with the international community to tackle the broader threat that ISIL poses to the region and other countries around the world, including the UK".
£1.6m worth of heavy machine guns and ammunition is due arrive in Iraq on Wednesday, the same day that US President Barack Obama will outline his strategy for targeting IS. There will also be an estimated £475,000 in transport costs.
Fallon said the equipment was being sent following a request from the new Iraqi government, which is made up of Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. There had been pressure on Iraq to form a new, more inclusive government following widespread dissatisfaction among the country's Sunnis.
Haider al-Agadi was appointed Prime Minister following the resignation of Nuri al-Maliki, who was accused of increasing friction between the country's Sunni and Shia sects.
The extremist group has been taking over much of the north of the country recently as it attempts to establish a “caliphate”, or religious state.
At present, the UK has no plan to take military action in Iraq, but Prime Minister David Cameron said that MPs will have a vote on the matter if Obama decides to take action beyond the air strikes it has already launched against IS.